Kelly Pond Project On Hold Due To Elevation Issue

Plans to rehabilitate the Kelly Park pond back to the fishing hole it once was were put on hold Friday because of a “buildability” issue.

City attorney Scott Reust told the Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety, “We’ve been working on the Kelly Park pond project for some time. That project was approved and our contractor went out and started the project and discovered a buildability construction issue with the design that we had.”

G & G Hauling & Excavating has the contract for the project, which includes inlet protection, excavation dredging of pond and channel, pipe work, adding shrubbery and a concrete sidewalk and more around the pond. The cost of the project is near $600,000.

A change of ownership of a parcel of land delayed the awarding of the contract for the work from August to January. The work began in June.

Christopher B. Burke Engineering LLC did the study and design for the Kelly Park pond project.

Reust told the Board of Works Friday that they’ve been meeting with the designers to look for a solution to the plan.

“But, we’re not able to proceed with the constructability as designed. So, we’re asking permission from this Board to put a stop work on the project to suspend it for some time while we look for a solution to the constructability of the plan that we have,” Reust said. “We want to do that to enable our contractor to pursue other work because we just don’t have a solution for it right now. So they can try to minimize losses by starting other projects and bidding other projects while we work with the designers to try to come up with a workable solution for the Kelly pond project.”

He said they wanted permission from the Board of Works to notify G & G that work on the project is going to be stopped now until a solution can be found to the constructability problem.

Board member Common Councilman Jeff Grose asked if there was any estimation on how long the stoppage would be. City engineer Aaron Ott said there really wasn’t any estimate available.

“Unfortunately, because of the time of year and the nature of the project, it is urgent or else it would likely push it into a next year project,” Ott said. “So, there is a delicate timeline here that we’re trying to work through, but we realize the designer is not just going to be able to come up with a solution without doing some additional investigation for us to become comfortable in that and we’re still waiting to hear from the designer what kind of time they’re asking for or think they need. They understand that it’s a problem for the city and they are scrambling right now, trying to resolve it.”

Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer said James Emans, the city’s former engineer who retired, has gotten involved in the discussions. Emans had a big part in the early part of the project, Thallemer said.

“We had a very good discussion about options and this is where we’re at,” he said.

Ott said there seems to be a couple viable options, but “we can’t be certain without the investigation. That becomes doing some field survey and it’s a difficult location for that, but there are ways to overcome some of that and we’re expecting our design consultant to overcome some of that and come up with some resolutions for us.”

Reust said, “I think the reality is, the conclusion we came to as a city, a day or two ago, is to be responsible, we need to investigate this more thoroughly and have a clear solution to make sure we accomplish what we want to accomplish. It’s not fair to the contractor to sit and wait and we don’t want to proceed with a project that we’re not sure where it’s going to go. And, so, our intention was to notify the contractor that we’re stopping this project for now and delaying this project for now and urging them to try to minimize their losses by going forward while we continue to work with the designer that we have to find a good solution to the issue that we have with the constructability problem we have.  It’s going to take some time.”

The Board approved a motion to stop the work for the contractor and be able to suspend the project until the city was satisfied with going forward with the designer and a new construction design on the pond.

Asked to elaborate during the meeting on what the “constructability” issues were, Ott said, “The elevations that were used as a basis for design are different in the field than what was expected. So, we have to possibly find a lower elevation to outlet the water into. That’s the gist of it. We have environmental permits and things that are sensitive to the project so it’s a little bit of a complex matter that they’re sort of both different. … It’s an elevation discrepancy.”

The elevations where the city is trying to end the channel are higher than where the design engineer had them. The hydraulics of the design aren’t going to work to that design so a different way to make them work has to be found, Ott said after the meeting.

G & G discovered the elevation issue while they were doing their layout and survey work, Ott said. After G & G informed the city of the problem, the city had its surveyors check and confirm that there was a different elevation than the design by Christopher B. Burke Engineering.

The project was originally expected to be completed in November.