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Milton picks design firm for splash park plan

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
August 9, 2011
— The city is one step closer to diving into a new splash park project.

At a joint meeting Monday, the Milton City Council and the Community Development Authority selected Madison-based SAA Design Group to work with the city on a project that would put a splash park in South Goodrich Park on the city's east side.


The council and the committee also authorized City Administrator Jerry Schuetz to negotiate a contract with SAA. The council could vote as early as Aug. 16 on whether to formally approve hiring the firm for the potential $300,000 project, Schuetz said Monday.


Monday's decision came after the council and the development authority, along with the Goodrich Square Steering Committee, heard proposals from SAA and Mequon-based Bonestroo, another firm that designs splash parks.


The groups were chosen from six firms that submitted proposals.


If the council approves hiring SAA, the firm would first work on a feasibility study to determine the city's ability to design, construct and maintain a splash park. The study would draw on public input and examine the economic impact such a park would have.


A splash park is part of a larger city plan to redevelop the Goodrich Park as a center of recreation and commerce. The city considers the plan a lower-cost alternative to building a full swimming facility.


Blake Theisen and Aaron Williams, architects with SAA who spoke at the meeting, told the council the firm would work to design a splash park that fits the public's desires and the city's history.


The two pointed to other splash parks the firm has built, such as one at a park on the site of a former armory in Rock Island, Ill. The firm used pieces of the former armory building in landscaping at the splash park.


Possible design features Theisen and Williams brought Monday include a filter system that would recycle water and an outer concrete ring that could be flooded to create an ice rink in winter.


Theisen said SAA would host public forums in Milton and online for input on project.


"Before we lift a pencil to make a line on the page, we want to hear" public feedback, he said.


Schuetz said SAA's contract would be set up so the firm would need council approval before it moved into design and construction phases.


Theisen said once designs were complete, it could take 10 to 13 weeks to build the splash park.


Schuetz said the city is examining funding options, but he estimated at least a third to half of the project could be paid through tax increment financing. The rest likely would come through private fundraising, he added.



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