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Posted: March 17, 2014 9:03 p.m.

Gazebo on square could cost $55K

The gazebo Mayor Ronnie Johnston wants to see placed on the Covington square could cost $55,000, but some Covington City Council members want more information, including seeing the gazebo’s footprint physically marked out on the square, before moving forward.

The Covington City Council looked at some initial cost estimates Monday for the gazebo, which would be built on the southeast quadrant on the square, catty corner from Scoops, and be used for events including music concerts, as well as to house tables and chairs for citizens to use for meals or other activities.

The City Council voted 3-2 to not vote on the issue Monday, delaying a decision for at least three weeks.
Councilwomen Janet Goodman and Hawnethia Williams voted against delaying a vote, because they were comfortable with the project’s scope and cost. Councilman Mike Whatley was absent.
Covington Planning Director Randy Vinson designed the plans for the gazebo, which would be 24- feet wide and be around 22 feet tall. Vinson said Tuesday he marked out the gazebo’s footprint on the square Tuesday, marking it in chalk on the existing brick and in paint on the grass, so officials and residents can get a feel for the gazebo’s
size. The outline does not extend very far beyond the brick and landscaped area already in the quadrant.

Vinson told the council Monday the current cost estimate is around $55,000, including $19,000 for the timber
framing and $15,000 for pavers and granite for the gazebo’s flooring; Vinson said both of those aspects are specialized jobs.

Main Street Covington would cover around $14,000 of the cost, while the city itself would pay the remaining $41,000.

Covington Councilman Chris Smith said he wasn’t sure if he supported a gazebo that big or if he was comfortable
spending $55,000 without bidding out some of the elements.
He said he’d like to see the footprint of the gazebo marked out on the square, so he could get a better idea of what it would look like on site. The 22-foot height is about the same as the height of the former Mayfield Ace Hardware location and other buildings on the square, Vinson said.

Vinson said he only knows a single company in the surrounding area that can do the timber framing – Holder Brothers Timberframes in Monroe – and he only knows a single company that can easily install the type of pavers the city uses downtown – Jim Williams in Oxford. Vinson said the pavers aren’t able to be ordered, except in very large quantities, and he said Williams still has some of the pavers left over from the last time he did work for the city downtown.

The actual timber will be provided by the city using trees on city property to save money. Smith said he was uncomfortable spending that much money on items without getting bids. Technically, the city must put out to bid items that cost more than $20,000; City Manager Leigh Anne Knight said that applies to individual jobs within a project if a single company is not handling the entire project. However, she said the council can vote to bid out any project, no matter how small the cost.

Smith was also concerned about the size of the project, saying it was bigger than he anticipated and wouldn’t leave much greenspace on the square, where people could sit during events. Given the fact, the city is also planning to plant a few additional trees, Smith said the square could get crowded.

Vinson said the idea behind the size was twofold. The reason for its overall size was to give it some civic presence.

“It can’t be too small, or it will look puny and get swallowed up by everything around it and won’t have any sort of monumental presence,” Vinson said.

The reason for the height was to preserve the sightlines on the square that people and officials had expressed concern about. The height from the base to the roof will be 12 feet, while the height of the roof itself to the top of the cupola would be another 10 to 11 feet, Vinson estimated.

Mayor Johnston said he was comfortable delaying a decision so the entire council was comfortable with the project.

Other costs for the gazebo included:

- $5,500 for slate roofing materials and labor
- $3,500 for electrical and sound materials and labor
- $3,500 for concrete footings
- $3,000 for staining materials and labor
- $2,000 for lumber milling
- $2,000 as a contingency
- $1,000 for miscellaneous costs and utilities

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