Danville will dedicate water plant, then work on educational park

Danville will celebrate the completion of an estimated $23.7 million overhaul of its water treatment plant at the end of this month.
A dedication is planned for 12 p.m. Aug. 31 at the Coldiron-Watkins Memorial Water Treatment Plant along Lexington Avenue, City Manager Ron Scott said.
At a Danville City Commission meeting last week, commissioners approved change order No. 9 to the contract with Judy Construction, the contractor upgrading the plant. City Engineer Earl Coffey said the change order increases the contract by $41,350 and adds 34 calendar days to the contract for the additional work.
“The percentage of change orders on this contract are low, industry-wide,” he said. “Rather than changes orders being a result of defective work, the amount of change orders we’ve had have been value-added decisions that the commission ultimately has endorsed or staff has requested.”
Coffey said one more change order is expected later this month — that change will resolve unspent allowances and other items and result in a reduction in the contract price.
“We expect that to be a pretty good reduction in the $125,000 range — it could be a little bit more,” he said. “So overall, we are doing well. We have not gotten really into the contingency (funds) what we would consider at all.”
Coffey said the upgrade project is “substantially complete” and has been since June. “So now they are doing their final punch-list, close-out items.”
Multiple city officials brought up letters to the editor written by a pair of children, 10-year-old Abel Goodwin and 8-year-old June Goodwin, who both said they missed having the playground that used to be in front of the water treatment plant and wondered when the project would be complete. The letters were published Aug. 8 in The Advocate-Messenger.
“We used to have an awesome playground but now they tore it out three years ago. Now it’s a dumpster,” June Goodwin wrote. “Plus no one is even working on it.”
City Manager Scott said the city still plans to add back a park space that will be “interactive, educational and part of the comprehensive plan the city has put together to provide education” on water quality and individuals’ responsibility to not pollute water and properly dispose of their trash.
The park project aims to “increase public awareness, outreach and education to encourage personal responsibility and involvement in protecting our waterways,” according to a project summary provided by Scott.
The attractions in the park “will help people learn where they are in the ‘local’ water cycle and what long-term potentially negative effects their actions, such as dumping, fertilizers and littering, may cause,” according to the summary. “Huge strides can be made in the improvement of our water quality by each of us becoming informed about what we can do in our own lives that may negatively impact our water supply.”
The park is expected to include a rain garden, an “interpretive area,” a wetland and “space conducive for large groups, such as students, to gather and learn,” according to the summary.
Scott said the city plans to bid the park specifications at the end of August and then “commence the process of redesigning and completing that park.”
“Our earlier plan was to try to expedite that by including it as an additional contract amendment with Judy Construction Company,” Scott said. “They have a lot of other projects underway and we were unable to negotiate the inclusion of that work and so this has resulted in a bit of a delay and a separate route in order to get the best price for the public. But that process is to begin this fall. It will lead to the completion of that comprehensive park center on the grounds of the water treatment plant by early 2018.”
City Commissioner J.H. Atkins said he appreciated the letters to the editor from the kids.
“I was really excited and amazed by the letters to the editor by the 8-year-old and the 10-year-old and the fact they got published. I had a conversation with the mom and told them we’d get back with her,” Atkins said. “I think it would be neat to send that family a thank-you note from the city and include these great plans for the park that we have in place, so they’ll know … it’s not been lost.”
Work on the water treatment plant project first began in June 2011, when Brent Tippey and Rich Smith of HDR, the company hired by the city to oversee the project, began working on preliminary designs.
A groundbreaking signifying the start of construction was held on Jan. 28, 2014. At the time, it was expected to take 30 months to complete, according to news archives, which represented a finish date in the fall of 2016.
The project is designed to increase Danville’s capacity from 10 million gallons per day to 12 million and implement improved water treatment systems that protect water quality. The treatment plant gets its raw water from Herrington Lake, which officials tout as a reliable source of high-quality water.
Tippey said in May that despite various pieces of the project that have been under way, the city has essentially had “full use” of the plant since August 2016.