BEAUFORT — While the summer season is in full swing, at least one summertime attraction, the revamped Randolph Johnson Park, will likely not be complete in time for the season.
This is according to town staff, who reports unforeseen delays in the ongoing project.
“It is a rather complex project,” writes Beaufort’s Parks and Recreation Supervisor Rachel Johnson in an email to the News-Times. “Unfortunately, the delay involves circumstances beyond the Town’s control. It saddens me that the park will not be open this summer as originally planned. As the next phases progress, we will have a better idea on a grand opening.”
Several months in the making, the overhaul of Randolph Johnson Park is one of several projects planned throughout the town. Funding for the project comes courtesy of a donation to the town earmarked specifically for park improvements.
Town officials chose to use the funds for new playground equipment and a splashpad. Staff reports the preliminary planning is taking longer than expected.
“There is a lot of work being done behind the scenes,” Ms. Johnson said. “The Town’s consultants are in the process of finalizing the site and architectural plans for the next phase of work.”
The project’s design, specifically fine-tuning the final design, was more time consuming than originally anticipated, according to Ms. Johnson.
“The conceptual phase of the project took longer than we expected,” Ms. Johnson said. “During this phase, the desired look and layout of the park was developed while keeping in mind the available budget. This involved a number of sessions between Town’s consulting architect and Town staff. The conceptual phase was followed by the current design phase where the finer details of the project are being developed. This current phase is nearing completion.”
While staff continues to put the final touches on the park’s plan, preliminary construction has started, including the demolition of the portion of Pine Street that previously separated park property.
“The work which also included the piping of a ditch along the edge of the park is essentially complete save a few minor ‘punch list’ items that need to be finished,” Ms. Johnson wrote. “Additionally, the splash pad and playground equipment have been delivered. This equipment will be installed during the next phase of work.”
The construction phase isn’t expected to be as time consuming as the planning phase.
“Installation of the playground and splashpad equipment is estimated to take 6 weeks,” Ms. Johnson wrote. “Initial time estimates for the building are approximately 4 months but we will not have a concrete timeframe until the bid is awarded.”
As of now, town staff and the volunteer members of the parks and recreation advisory panel will continue working until the project is complete.
“We’re tentatively looking at a completion date by the end of the year,” Ms. Johnson wrote. “We’ll be able to better refine the date once we have final plans in hand. Town staff is working diligently to keep the project moving forward, despite unexpected delays.”
Contact Dean-Paul Stephens at 252-726-7081, ext. 232; email Dean@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @DeanPEStephens.