Fannie Robinson Park

An illustration shows the general design of a new bathroom to be built at Fannie Robinson Park.

The next step of a restroom addition to Fannie Robinson Park as well as lighting nearby and at Pierce Park is underway.

On Sept. 10, the Taylor City Council approved three Valero Quality of Life projects to move forward for bids. The projects include the restroom and installing lighting at Robinson Park’s basketball court and at Pierce Park, also known as the skate park.

Valero Energy, a fuel and petrochemical manufacturer and marketer, has funded the Taylor’s Quality of Life Projects. PLACE Designers, a multi-disciplinary firm, has been at the helm of the endeavors and provided an update to the council last Thursday. Construction drawings are complete, and permits have been approved for site and building plans.

The three projects’ original budget was $300,000. However, the opinion of probable construction costs is $273,536.

“We’re generally under budget about ($26,000) is our estimation,” said Philip Wanke, PLACE desingers principal, “and I think we’re ready to go out for bid on these projects.”

Wanke then showed the council a timeline of what the schedule was for thereafter.

“Once approved, I believe we can let this bid within the next week or so,” said Wanke, “and then get that in with this in mid-October to get back with you for approval.”

According to PLACE’s timeline, construction would begin soon afterward. Each project could take about 60 to 90 days to complete.

Originally, PLACE planned to have final designs and cost estimates available in March with bids in May. However, there have been delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Council members expressed concerns over the delays in July, which were reiterated Thursday.

“I’m not happy that it took longer than usual,” said Councilmember Robert Garcia, “but with COVID-19, it was okay.”

In October 2017, the city approved the development agreement with Valero. As part of that agreement, Valero agreed to provide $500,000 for one or more Quality of Life Projects. The City Council expects to make the final decision on the projects. Valero has requested input and approval of these projects.

The Valero Quality of Life Projects include seven items. For 2020, PLACE and staff came up with the restroom and lighting projects to be their focus.

Wanke noted that in July his team switched to designing a wood frame building for the restroom so that it could allow more soil movement. The new design also eliminates the need for a retaining wall and requires less excavation costs. The floor plan remains generally unchanged.

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