By L. Parsons
The Winslow City Council authorized the expenditure of $51,863 from the city capital projects fund to begin renovation of the Route 66 Plaza, located west of Kinsley Avenue on Second Street.
Community Development Director Paul Ferris explained in the written motion, “The City of Winslow was given a Discretionary Grant by the National Scenic Byways program in 2011 for the design and construction of Route 66 Plaza.” Stipulations and requirements of the grant award were beyond the scope of the City of Winslow financially as the initial estimate for the project was $610,357 with the city matching funds of $122,072.
Further, upon receipt of the grant, authority on design and construction was given to the Arizona Department of Transportation. Ferris said, “ADOT also had authority for approval of all aspects of the project and caused several long delays, largely as a result of ADOT staff’s failure to provide city staff with a complete guide to all approvals and approval processes required.”
ADOT’s involvement and the, “Federal grant strings,” City Manager Steve Pauken said, “meant it was estimated to be about a $900,000 project and after it was estimated last year ballooned to about a $1.2 million project.” These astronomical numbers led to the dismantling of the project by city officials. Ferris stated that the mayor and council canceled the grant in August of 2016.
Cancellation of the grant resulted in the refund of $114,072 of the $122,072 paid back to the City of Winslow. The $8,000 difference was reflected in funds already spent on the project such as design and review. Ferris continued, “Cancellation of the grant allowed the city to control the design, cost, project management, and timing of the construction.”
“We are obviously constructing this in phases now and the first phase will be the stage,” Ferris said. “So far it is resulting in a great cost savings over the ADOT version of the project,” he said.
All contracting on the Route 66 Plaza project will be done by local companies. Ben Foster Repair will be handling the electrical installation, McCauley Construction Inc. will be responsible for concrete needs, and Hardy Masonry will take on the stage foundation and wall construction. In addition, well-known metal fabricator and artist John Suttman will build the flexible steel and fabric canopy that will surround the stage.
“We made the commitment to the community to do the Route 66 Plaza and construction will begin as soon as the contracts are in,” Pauken said. Plans for the project can be viewed by the public at the city hall located at 21 N. Williamson Ave. The stage is set to be completed in the spring of 2018, and according to Pauken will be ready to use by summer.