Closed for the season

Published 11:51 am Thursday, December 20, 2018

Performance Park in need of unforeseen repairs

Nicholasville’s newest public park has been closed until at least spring, barely two months after its grand opening celebration.

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After concerns from Nicholasville city commissioners, the new downtown Performance Park was closed by Nicholasville Fire Marshal Dave Johns last month for safety reasons after a wall of an adjacent building was determined to be unsafe and in need of repairs.

The small open-air courtyard, intended for the display of art exhibits and outdoor performances is located on Main Street between Euro Wine Bar and The Wicker Basket and celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting Oct. 10.

The park was created with funds the city had left over from its downtown improvement project, which Laurie Young, finance officer for the city of Nicholasville, confirmed was $265,000.

“I inspected it three times,” Johns said. “Initially with a complaint to check on it, once with the building inspector and once with the engineers on Nov. 2.”

Johns then advised city leaders the engineers believed several steps need to be taken by the engineers or the whole wall on the side of the Euro Wine Bar could fall into the public park.

A total cost for the project is unknown at this time, it but is expected to be close to $40,000.

Nicholasville Mayor Pete Sutherland said funds for the repair will come out of the city’s general fund.

“It is not condemned but it is temporarily closed for safety reasons until repairs are completed,” Sutherland said. “The fire marshal determined the wall needed to be inspected. …  They determined the wall was not safe because of loose bricks and the whole wall needed work. This was discovered in late November and we have been working to find the best and most economical repair that we can.”

The issue was not foreseen at the time of the park construction simply because the wall had been in its current condition for 13 years without any issues, Sutherland said.

Sutherland also said he is hopeful the park will be ready for spring 2019 usage.

“I don’t believe it is affecting the community at this time because of cold weather,” Sutherland said. “We are currently getting bids for the repairs.”

Working with Banks Engineering, Sutherland said John Steinmetz has been his go-to person in this project from the start. After the inspection from Johns, a Lexington structural engineer, Poage Engineering, recommended certain steps be taken to address the issue of the loose bricks on the northern wall of the park, Steinmetz said.

“The structural engineer worked with a specialty contractor to submit a proposal to make the repairs, and the city is trying to obtain second opinions and competitive proposals for the work,” he said. “The timeframe will depend on how long it takes to hire a contractor, and also the weather. But the goal is to get it resolved as soon as possible so the park can be used next spring.”

One proposal is in now, Steinmetz said. The other is expected by the end of the month. Johns said a lot can change cost-wise depending on what the city decides to do after they see the proposals.

“Most of the winter it will be closed,” Johns said. “I am getting it fenced off and getting signs put up saying closed for the season. They will need to replace the mortar. It would be costly to do during winter. Sealing with plastic and a heater will take more risk than if we have to shut it down and make it closed for the season.”