Aurora -- While the proposed Sunny Lake boathouse replacement, concession stand and parking lot projects need to be approved by City Council, the construction, if OK'd, won't begin until September, according to Jim Kraus, the city's parks and recreation director.
"The concern is that construction would be in June, July and August, which are our busiest months," said Kraus, who spoke at the city's Feb. 18 recreation advisory committee meeting. "We didn't feel that was the best time to start construction."
Kraus said construction drawings will be reviewed by the city's building department, then the city will bid the projects.
"If Council doesn't approve a particular project, we'd still have the drawings if Council wants to proceed with construction [at a later date]," he said.
Council has appropriated about $444,000, but the estimated cost of all three projects is about $700,000, so Council will either have to decide which phases to go ahead with or find additional funds. Council has not set a date when it will vote on the projects.
Other topics discussed include:
• The girls varsity softball field, which is still under construction, will not be completed in time for the coming season.
"We were hoping it would be done for this season, but unfortunately that won't be the case," Kraus said, adding he expects the field to be done in the early summer.
"We've approved the contracts for the dugouts and fences, but they haven't been able to start the construction of those because of the weather," Kraus said. "So once the weather starts to break, we'll continue to work on things.
"The field still needs to be completed," he said. "The infield is pretty close, and there is a bit of minor work to do. The outfield is pretty close, but there is some [grading] work to be done."
Kraus said some of the dirt settled during the winter and more may have to be added.
"If we put in the fence and the ground settles during the winter, then you have a wavy fence, so we thought it might be better to hold off," he added.
• The recreation advisory committee previously discussed bringing a treetop adventure course to the city from a company called Go Ape. It would allow people to swing on a rope or soar through the sky on a zipline.
At the February meeting, Kraus said the city is looking at a second company that provides a similar activity. Kraus said he wants to see if either company wants to come to Aurora.
"I hope the process gets more involved in the next couple months, when we have legitimate conversations about it [with representatives of those companies]," he said.
With Go Ape, there would be no expense to the city, which would receive a percentage of the company's revenue. Kraus said the city's take from the company could be between $25,000 and $65,000 a year. He said participants are locked into a harness to prevent injury.
The most likely site would be the east side of the Sunny Lake property, which has 600 acres and no usage restrictions, Kraus said, and City Council would have to approve bringing the company to the city.
Kraus said if city officials pursue the Go Ape project, 2014 is the time frame they'd be shooting for.
There are no Go Ape facilities in Ohio. The company's three locations are in Williamsburg, Va., Rockville, Md., and Indianapolis.
• A proposed Eagle Scout project to build a fire pit at the Sunny Lake sled hill is on hold, at least temporarily, while safety issues are pondered by insurance company officials who service the city, according to Kraus. He said an Eagle Scout approached him about the project.
"The thought was it could possibly develop into something, maybe not right now, but down the road," he said. "Maybe we'd have a particular group of volunteers who would build the fire and check on it. It is a decent idea. There are other areas [in the city] that have warming areas."
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