In an unusual move, council chose at its last council meeting to go against a recommendation by a city commission which includes members of the public.
The city’s Community Services, Recreation and Culture Commission was recommending council replace the viewing platform at Dick Murphy Park with a fancier, larger structure.
The new platform would be an expanded T-shaped structure with room for picnic tables, and a cost estimated at $75,000. Council, at its meeting Nov. 23, wasn’t too keen on that idea and opted to go with a smaller structure – a replica of the original platform which was removed by the city last year due to safety reasons.
Coun. Charlie Cornfield wanted to understand the rationale for the commission choosing the pricier option.
“What are the advantages under option two?” Cornfield asked. “I certainly want know what was the rationale for that versus a straight pier with some benches for seating.”
Jason Decksheimer, the city’s asset management supervisor, said the commission felt that replicating the original structure would not allow for quality time to be spent on the platform.
“The real reason they opted for a bigger version with a T-shaped deck was simply to allow for more room, for more picnic tables so people could spend some meaningful time out on that platform,” Decksheimer said.
“Okay, and they couldn’t do it with just benches?” Cornfield asked.
“Absolutely, they could, the commission just thought the increased costs over option one were worth the extra expense,” Decksheimer replied.
The city has been exploring options for replacing the platform since the summer of 2014. The platform, which was roughly 18 feet wide, stretched out into the estuary near Corilair until it was removed last year for safety reasons. Council has budgeted $25,000 for design plans, not including costs for construction. Council, at last week’s Monday meeting, voted to go with the replica version of the viewing platform and refer the construction cost of $45,000 to 2016 budget planning which begins on Monday. Coun. Larry Samson said the more modest version is all the city needs.
“I think a viewing platform is exactly that,” Samson said. “People can walk around Dick Murphy Park, they can walk out on the viewing platform. Picnic benches to me can be placed around the path or in the grass area.”
Mayor Andy Adams agreed that picnic tables could be added to the upland portion of the park, but he acknowledged the work of the commission in coming to the recommendation it did.
“I do want to acknowledge the work of the commission and the recommendation,” Adams said. “In no way is this council not appreciating the work the commission does.”
Adams also suggested that possibly, somewhere down the line, the city could look to partner with service clubs or corporations to find a sponsor for the platform and reduce the cost to the city.