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Urban Wilderness Gateway Park, On Time and Within Budget: 'It's What We Do' 
The first phase of the $10 million Urban Wilderness Gateway Park is finished, and the next part - the construction of play features, restrooms, water fountains, picnic areas and shade structures - is expected to get underway in early 2022.

After the fact, when the trails and roads have been built, and the utilities installed, it may look simple to build a new park from the ground up. But in actuality, it took a dedicated team of City problem-solving engineers to make the park a reality.

"Issues come up in the field, and it requires everyone pulling together to get it right," says Engineering Manager Robin Tipton. "Our team - from the survey team to the designers to the construction team to the inspectors - would see issues and resolve them. It takes a group effort to make sure something works in the field."

Adjusting the details may be imperceptible to a casual observer, but engineers measure in fractions of inches. So, for example, when the contour of the Baker Creek Bike Park conflicted with that of the main park, the slopes were adjusted and the pieces matched seamlessly.

Tipton offers a lot of praise to her fellow City engineers.

It starts with members of the survey team - Crew Leader Rusty Matthews and Daniel Dyer, Craig Pryputniewicz and Melody Allen.

"They do everything from the start, including doing some brush clearing with hatchets," Tipton says. "They lay everything out. They are there from the beginning to the end."

Craig Pryputniewicz works on the survey layout of a new trail and roadway in the Urban Wilderness Gateway Park.
Craig Pryputniewicz works on the survey layout of a new trail and roadway.

Tipton shares duties with other managers, including public works veterans Shawn Fitzpatrick and Pete Gerlach.

Then there are the Urban Wilderness Gateway Park inspectors - Randy Williams initially, then Andrew Luttrell, "who see that everything is built to the precise design specifications."

"It's definitely a team thing," Luttrell says. "Things don't always go 100 percent according to plan on Day 1. So we would realign a trail or adjust a tie-in. Just because you put it on a sheet of paper, the numbers don't always work in the real world.

"Our job is to take a set of plans, smooth out the details when needed, and do the job on time and within budget. It's what we do."

Mayor Indya Kincannon, City Council members, City staff, the team of contractor designers and builders, mountain biking enthusiasts and community stakeholders gathered and cut a ceremonial ribbon in late July, marking the transition from Phase 1 to Phase 2 on the Urban Wilderness Gateway Park construction.

Phase 1 investment built the park’s infrastructure: neighborhood connections, roads and greenways, lighting and utility installation. The most visible part of Phase 1 was the Baker Creek Bike Park, which was dedicated in August 2020.

Charles Blalock and Sons served as the City's Phase 1 construction contractor; Vaughn & Melton Consulting Engineers was the project designer.

Look for Phase 2 work to go out to bid this fall, with the work beginning and ending in 2022.
Posted by evreeland On 27 August, 2021 at 12:28 PM