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posted: 4/13/2012 10:23 AM

Money remains for Aurora's RiverEdge Park construction

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  • The city of Aurora still has $854,057 left to spend on RiverEdge Park, where Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner stands with Dunham Fund board Chairman Stewart Beach, left, and Dunham Fund board member Michael Morcos, right. Grants totaling $13 million are supporting the park's construction, which is budgeted to cost $13.2 million.

      The city of Aurora still has $854,057 left to spend on RiverEdge Park, where Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner stands with Dunham Fund board Chairman Stewart Beach, left, and Dunham Fund board member Michael Morcos, right. Grants totaling $13 million are supporting the park's construction, which is budgeted to cost $13.2 million.
    Photo courtesy City of Aurora Public Information O

  • Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner says RiverEdge Park will be a regional destination, job engine and centerpiece of downtown redevelopment efforts. The park is in the ward of Alderman Abby Schuler, right.

       Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner says RiverEdge Park will be a regional destination, job engine and centerpiece of downtown redevelopment efforts. The park is in the ward of Alderman Abby Schuler, right.
    PAUL MICHNA | Staff Photographer

  • Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner speaks at the RiverEdge Park groundbreaking in July. The park is expected to be complete by October.

       Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner speaks at the RiverEdge Park groundbreaking in July. The park is expected to be complete by October.
    PAUL MICHNA | Staff Photographer

  • Aurora planning and zoning Director Stephane Phifer shows RiverEdge Park and a view of its master plan, which was approved in 2007.

      Aurora planning and zoning Director Stephane Phifer shows RiverEdge Park and a view of its master plan, which was approved in 2007.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • The area along both shores of the Fox River just north of downtown Aurora is undergoing a transformation into RiverEdge Park. The park is budgeted to cost $13.2 million and be complete by October.

      The area along both shores of the Fox River just north of downtown Aurora is undergoing a transformation into RiverEdge Park. The park is budgeted to cost $13.2 million and be complete by October.
    Daily Herald file photo

 
 

Construction is progressing on RiverEdge Park in Aurora, and even after spending $12,442,363, the city says it has money to spare.

The construction budget for the park, designed to be the centerpiece of downtown redevelopment efforts, stands at $13,296,420, which includes $13 million in grants.

So after the city council this week approved a package of bids for the park's sound system, lighting, theater rigging, landscaping and security, $854,057 remains.

The city plans to use it.

"Obviously we want to spend all of the grant money," Stephane Phifer, Aurora's planning and zoning director, said while discussing the recently approved bids with aldermen. "We don't want to leave any of the state money on the table."

Another group of bids to be sought this summer will look to spend the remaining grant funds, she said.

Grant money adding up to the $13 million includes $8 million from the state, $3 million from the Fox Valley Park District and $2 million from the Dunham Fund.

Another $2 million from the Forest Preserve District of Kane County has been promised, but is set aside specifically for a pedestrian bridge to connect the east and west banks of the Fox River. Bids have not yet been sought for the bridge.

The city has extra money because bids for previous phases of park construction have cost about 10 to 15 percent less than expected.

"We have come in under budget with all of the bid packages," Phifer said. "We did get really good prices compared to what our estimates are."

The first phase of work cost $1.2 million for restoration of Blues Island and adjacent Fox River shorelines and grading of the site of the Music Garden east of the river.

The second phase has been the most expensive, coming in at $9.7 million for a theater building, stage, concessions area, restrooms and a sound tower -- all the major elements of the park's Music Garden.

A total of $266,694 paid for the third group of bids, purchasing two types of concrete, architectural fabrics, aluminum and glazing for the music venue building.

The last package of bids -- approved this week -- cost $1.1 million.

The $13,296,420 million now budgeted for RiverEdge Park construction is more than the $12,744,618 originally budgeted. The $13.2 million includes a contingency fund for certain expenses incurred by the park's construction manager, R.C. Wegman Construction Company of Aurora.

The firm receives 9.85 percent of the cost of building the park under a contract the city approved last May, which means it has earned $1,225,572 for the $12,442,363 spent so far.

The city has until Feb. 28, 2013 to complete park construction, and officials have said it is expected to be finished by October.

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