Via Cadillac News
By Chris Lamphere
CADILLAC — It won’t be long before the Plaza at Cadillac Commons becomes more than just a dream or vague conception of the mind based on rough illustrations.
Organizers say it could be completely finished as early as August.
The Cadillac Commons is a collection of four major projects in the Cadillac park area, including the Plaza, the newly-renovated Rotary Performing Arts Pavilion, the open-air farmers market and extension of White Pine Trail into downtown.
The Plaza portion of the project includes the complete redesign of the parking lot behind the Elks Lodge, installation of a splash pad/portable skating rink, fireplace and archway.
Crews started working on burying utilities for the Plaza in April and at this point, many of the major pieces are ready to be installed.
Cadillac Fabrication is putting the final touches on the fireplace and archway now.
Rusty McKellar, director of sales and marketing for Cadillac Fabrication, said the shop crew is very proud of the work they did on both structures.
The framework for the fireplace, which was designed by Cornerstone Engineering-Design, still needs to be painted and the hearth and stonework installed by Positive Chimney and Fireplace, but other than that, the structure is ready to go.
The 15-foot-archway that will be placed at the entrance to the Plaza also is ready to go.
Plaza project engineer Connie Houk, with Prein & Newhof, said many of the Plaza’s distinguishing features such as archway, fireplace and splash pad will be installed at the site within the next few weeks.
Crews from several firms are working simultaneously on the archway columns, fireplace seating wall, dumpster enclosure, light poles, splash pad and landscaping.
“All these things are happening at the same time,” Houk said.
Although they haven’t run into any major issues, Houk said for a project of this magnitude, they plan for delays and unforeseen setbacks.
“We have engineers available to deal with issues as they come up to make sure the project stays on schedule,” Houk said. “Anytime you’re working underground on a job in an old city, you expect to tweak things in the field as situations arise.”
At the rate things are going, Houk estimated the whole project could be completely finished and ready for visitors by the end of August.
Cadillac Director of Finance Owen Roberts said funding to pay for the construction of the Plaza came from a variety of sources.
They include $460,000 contributed by the Downtown Development Authority; $50,000 donated by Consumers Energy; $70,000 to build the splash pad/skating rink fund-raised by the Cadillac Leadership Class; $230,000 in state grants and $1 million from a $3.3 million bond recently approved by the Cadillac City Council.
Roberts said all these sources of funding equate to about $1.8 million — a total that likely will exceed the cost to build the Plaza.
He said the remaining amount will go toward building the open air farmers market, which he estimated to cost roughly $700,000 to $800,000 depending on amenities.