Sunday, April 20, 2014

The final plans for the long awaited Garden of Surging Waves have been completed and the site for the Chinese cultural centerpiece is ready after completion of the new vaulted sidewalks taking in the corner of 11th and Duane.  Monday night the Astoria City Council will consider next steps proposed by staff to bid out the construction contract that would see the beginnings of Heritage Square with the construction of the garden feature.

 

City Manager  Paul Benoit says the city has $929,426 in the garden building fund and the architech's estimate runs between $900.000 and $1.1 million dollars for the construction work.  Benoit says that if the bids run beyond the budget the project may be adjusted to bring the costs into line with available funds.

The Garden of Surging Waves began years ago as an idea intended to honor early Chinese immigrants and was originally intended to replace a failed city pocket park on the riverfront at 9th and Astor streets in a location recognized as the old center of the Chinese community. As the project gathered momentum slowly at one point City Councilor Arlene Lamear suggested the city might take better advantage of the feature by placing it in the newly named Heritage Square in the center of town rather than the somewhat obscure location on the 10th street riverfront.  Mayor Van Dusen appointed a committee to consider the alternative location the result of which will see the new feature centrally located in the old Safeway block next to City Hall creating the first element of what has come to be known as Heritage Square.

According to a city news release, the Garden of Surging Waves overall budget is $1,717,000, for design, construction, infrastructure improvements, and administrative support for the project. Included in that amount is the cost of designing the initial parcel of Heritage Square, of which the Garden is a part. Completion of the larger site design was necessary to finalize the Garden's design, and sidewalk repairs at the site were necessary before construction could begin.

Of the total Phase I project cost, $700,000 has been committed from the City of Astoria for construction. Significant investments received from other sources
include a HUD grant of $147,000, $500,000 in individual and corporate donations, and $26,000 from foundations.  When the initial timeline was established for the project, the scope of needed infrastructure improvements had not been discovered. After city engineers determined that the deteriorating sidewalks surrounding the site, built after a major city fire in 1922, demanded significant repair they decided to make the necessary upgrades before building the Garden. Approximately $200,000 was required for the quarter-block of sidewalk repairs,which has now been completed.


Construction of the garden is now scheduled to begin in January, with completion estimated in April or May 2013.  

 

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