Downtown Park Steering Committee

Wes Simpson, chairman of the Glasgow Downtown Park Steering Committee, fifth from left, discusses a draft version of a request for design-build proposals for a proposed amphitheater/market pavilion in downtown Glasgow at the committee’s meeting Thursday. Continuing clockwise around table are Chasity Lowery, Marna Kirkpatrick, Eddie Furlong, Wendell Honeycutt, Josh Johnson, Brandi Button and Carolyn Glodfelter. All are committee members except Johnson, who is Button’s husband.

GLASGOW – The group working to develop a business plan and procure more detailed cost figures and designs for a downtown amphitheater/market pavilion project hopes to have a request for design-build proposals ready to advertise before the end of the month.

If approval of the final draft is accomplished at the March 19 meeting of the Glasgow Downtown Park Steering Committee, respondents then would be provided three to four weeks from the date of the advertisement to submit their proposals.

At the committee’s regular meeting of approximately an hour Thursday evening, the majority of the time was spent reviewing a first “rough, rough, rough draft” prepared by Wes Simpson, the committee chairman, with some sections more complete than others, and discussing timelines and such.

Simpson said he has a few things he would need to clarify with city officials, e.g. whether the proposals received be presented straight to the committee or would they have to go through mayor’s office.

He outlined the sections that would be in the request for proposals, including a summary of the project information, proposal guidelines, scope of services, bid forms, list of design documents, contract forms, insurance requirements and project schedule.

The project information involved a description of the intent and a listing of the primary features desired as part of the facility, with members of the group suggesting additional details such as the box office.

Brandi Button, executive director of Sustainable Glasgow, which manages the Bounty of the Barrens farmers market the pavilion would house weekly, suggested making the description of that portion a bit more detailed than “all-season farmers market pavilion,” based on the conceptual elements discussed earlier, e.g. enclosed but with an open-air space or option.

Simpson said some of that would be covered more in depth in the scope of work but it was good to mention of those things in the summary section. He said that while they do have some have-to-have items, they wouldn’t want to include too many details so as to allow for some leeway and creativity in the proposals, so they needed enough information to clarify but not to impose too many limits. For example, they wouldn’t want to specify something like red bricks.

“That’s the joy of this [design-build process]. We’ll see what people come back with,” he said.

As they proceeded through the pages of the draft, Councilman Wendell Honeycutt asked about what was in there to encourage use of local subcontractors and/or vendors, as had been mentioned as a possibility previously.

Simpson said they needed to talk about that, as there are different ways they could approach it, like putting a mileage radius on it or a percentage of local contractors.

“What’s everybody’s thinking on that?” he asked.

“I would like to stay local as much as possible,” said Councilwoman Chasity Lowery. “If it’s a $1,000 difference, to me, it stays local. If there’s $10,000 difference, I see maybe wanting to explore your options.”

Button asked about how they wanted to define “local,” and Lowery suggested a radius.

Honeycutt said perhaps a combination of something like 20 percent of all subcontractors have to be based within 30 miles of Glasgow would work, and the percentage could be based on the dollars being spent. He said it didn’t matter to him as much where the main contractor is based, “but I do want to see some of it come back into the city or at least this area.”

Simpson and others agreed, and Honeycutt added that even if they are coming from a distance out of town, they would be spending money here on lodging and food.

Simpson suggested they do some checking around with others on a ratio and/or radius that would be reasonable.

“We don’t want to make it so restrictive that no one wants to do it,” Honeycutt said, “but we want to make it enough that there is some boost coming back.”

Simpson agreed, saying that if there would be only one of a specific type of subcontractor that could handle the project, then that one could jack up the price, and Honeycutt said it could also be that a particular local one would not be available.

“And again,” Lowery said, “sometimes the cheapest isn’t the best.”

Button asked about where they would need to include something encouraging the use of environmentally friendly design and construction, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Simpson suggested some phrasing they could include such as saying LEED designs would get special consideration.

“I would like to see some designs that include things like solar and permeable sidewalks,” Button said. “I mean, if it’s a new space, then I don’t see what we can’t try to make it as sustainable a space as possible.”

Simpson said another option is to require separation among the construction waste of recyclable or reusable materials versus trash.

Other discussion took place about requirements for sound and lighting, etc.

As they reached the conclusion of the draft document, he said he would send it out to the others so they could be reviewing it as he added information to the other sections. He pointed out that when they get the proposals, this committee would not be making a decision about which to choose, but rather they all would be included in the materials presented back to the Glasgow Common Council, which has to approve any final plans.

Thus far, the council had only approved $15,000 for the development of the business plan, real cost estimates and working plans. It has not committed to actually doing the construction with a combination of public and private funding as proposed.

The committee spent the rest of the time plugging in some tentative numbers on anticipated operational costs, including staffing, maintenance and supplies, but some additional information was going to be gathered on things like city pay grades and benefits and the quantity of supplies used for events at places like the Plaza Theatre or city parks.

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