Parks & Recreation District hires project manager

LANGLEY — The South Whidbey Parks & Recreation district approved hiring Ron Young on Monday to manage the series of projects funded by the $1.6 million voter-approved bond in February.

Young Associates Project Services of Clinton will be paid an estimated $85 per hour, up to a maximum of $50,000, to organize and coordinate major district renovations, including the replacement of Castle Park.

Young will be dealing with contractors and builders to create specifications and drawings on the irrigation and drainage of five soccer fields at the sports complex on Langley Road, the pavilion shelters and new playground, the expansion of the skate park, extensive paving at the Community Park and building several miles of accessible pathways through the Trustland Trails property.

If Young can finish those projects on time and under budget, park staff hopes there will be money left for smaller items such as roof replacement and bathroom upgrades.

Outside help was needed to complete the projects, parks officials said.

"There is a tremendous amount of paperwork involved with a project this size, especially as regards the permitting process," said executive director Terri Arnold.

One hurdle the new manager must overcome is to find a solution to Castle Park. The board had discussed for months replacing the Alaskan yellow cedar playground with a similar playground constructed of a composite material.

The park board has not yet gone out for a formal bid on Castle Park but they are exploring three scenarios:

• Local contractor Mike Skouras has offered to build a new park out of a material called Trex, a composite product derived from a combination of reclaimed wood and plastic. To keep costs in line, Skouras recommends doing the job all at once and has given a ballpark estimate of $250,000.

• Leathers & Associates, which built the original structure in 1991, has projected a cost of $285,000 to knock down the current structure and replace it with a plastic playground. However, that figure does not include labor.

• Another company involved in playground construction, Architect Creations, said they can do the job — including takedown, labor and materials — for $288,000 using another composite wood product called Timberforce.

No decisions have been made.

"The board needs to take a closer look at each option, then pass it on to Ron Young, whose job it will be to oversee the project," said Parks Commissioner Linda Kast.

As part of the process, the board will ask Young to be present when Architect Creations makes its pitch for their Castle Park concept at the next public board meeting on Wednesday, May 21.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or jvanderford@southwhidbey

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