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Northam Park Sign
Northam Park Sign
Northam Park Ball Diamond
Northam Diamond
Northam Tennis Courts
Northam Tennis Courts

The 2018 Parks & Recreation Comprehensive Plan was developed to serve as a guiding document for future decision-making on how to get the most value from the City’s limited park land and the facilities within them, while fulfilling the recreational wants and needs of residents. The plan made several recommendations for potential improvements at Northam Park not previously included in past-year upgrades to the Tremont Pool, playground and parking lot.

In response to these recommendations, the Parks & Recreation Department initiated a project for the schematic design of infrastructure improvements to the athletic fields and tennis court complex at Northam Park, and commissioned MSA Sport to lead this process. Given the well-established nature of Northam Park and its existing uses, the intent of this project was not to redesign or reprogram the park but to study and develop a long-term plan for enhancements to those existing athletic and civic facilities in need of renovation or replacement.

This study process began in January of 2020. At its conclusion in the fall of 2021, MSA provided a “Vision Package” for improvements that includes renderings and schematic drawings. It also includes phasing information and cost estimates, to assist the Parks & Recreation Department as it schedules improvements within the Parks Capital Improvement Program.

With completion of the Vision Package, the City is now focused on implementation, with the majority of parks Capital Improvement Program funds dedicated to Northam improvements over the next five years.

Phase 01 addressed drainage issues with the installation of new storm sewers, setting the stage for subsequent improvements. The focus of Phase 02 has been on the replacement of the park service building and renovations for a portion of the Northam Tennis Courts. Unfortunately, due to inflationary effects of current market conditions – which is especially impacting small-top-mid-sized projects – the lowest bid for construction exceeded our budget estimate by 17%. As a result, we have concluded that the project should be delayed in order to revisit the timing, approach and phasing for Northam Park improvements. Please see the Implementation Updates section below for additional details.

IMPLEMENTATION UPDATES

Funding for a phased approach to Northam Park improvements is included in the 10-year Parks Capital Improvement Program, which was reviewed and approved by City Council in December of 2021.

The first phase of work was for the installation of a new storm sewer to address ponding issues in the northern area of the park and to provide the necessary underground infrastructure for future drainage improvements. This work was completed in the Spring of 2022. Of note, until the athletic fields in the south portion of the park have been regraded/improved with under-drains connecting to the new storm line, it’s likely that these areas will still experience standing water following heavy rains.

The City will continue to determine the best approach for implementing future phases of improvements. The 2021 Northam Park Vision Plan will serve as a guide for future improvements, but specific phases may be adjusted based on budgets and impacts to the park.

Mid-January – April 2022: Installation of a new storm sewer to address ponding issues in the northern area of the park and to provide the necessary underground infrastructure for future drainage improvements. Of note, until the athletic fields in the south portion of the park have been regraded/improved with under-drains connecting to the new stormline, it’s likely that these areas will still experience standing water following heavy rains.

  • Early January Update – the contractor was onsite marking the area for planned improvements. Site work began mid January. A total of five trees were removed to accommodate this project, three of which were in poor condition and already scheduled for removal – no further trees will be removed for this phase.
  • May Update – the stormwater improvements have been completed. Several areas within the park were re-seeded and are currently cordoned off so that the new turf can become established.
  • June Update – an area of the park along Northam Road is currently fenced off, awaiting repair work to a gas line by Columbia Gas.

August 2022 Update

The focus of the second phase has been on the replacement of the park service building and renovations for a portion of the Northam Tennis Courts. The detailed design for these improvements were completed early in 2022. Before seeking construction bids, we reassessed the project and made some refinements to the scope in the hopes of containing costs. While we were fortunate to receive four competitive bids for the project, the lowest bid exceeded our budget estimate by 17%. These bid results reflect the inflationary effects of current market conditions, which are especially impacting small-to-mid-sized projects.

In this current climate, the Administration has made a commitment to City Council that whenever bids exceed our expectations, we will reevaluate our plans to determine if a project should proceed as planned, if it should be delayed or possibly adjusted and rebid. In this case, the increased cost has led us to conclude that this project should be delayed, and that we should revisit the timing, approach and phasing for Northam Park improvements.

City Staff is actively working with our design consultants at OHM Advisors to determine the best path forward for this phase of the Vision Plan. This includes exploring the potential of proceeding with a smaller scope of work that would focus on the renovation of a portion of the tennis courts. If it is determined that this is feasible, it is the City’s hope that this scope of work could begin at some point in 2023, most likely toward the end of the playing season. The replacement of the park service building and the renovation of the remaining tennis courts would be delayed to a future phase. If this supplemental phase is not viable for 2023, the City will continue to refine phasing for project scopes that better reflect the construction market conditions.

Please be assured that the Administration and City Council remains committed to completing the necessary improvements slated for Northam Park, and we will keep you apprised as next steps are determined.

We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to make the best investment decisions for Northam Park and our community.

STUDY PROCESS & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

As a first step in the study process, a series of focus groups were held in late January 2020, designed to obtain input from members of the community that make frequent use of the existing facilities. These meetings included field sports representatives, members of the Northam Park Tennis Courts, community event representatives and park neighbors.

In addition to reviewing the feedback obtained from the focus groups, MSA undertook a detailed review of existing conditions, consulted with clay court vendors and experts, and began preliminary design concepts for improvements.

In the summer, residents were invited to participate in a second round of engagement, at which time preliminary conceptual designs were shared. This included a community meeting and an online survey. Approximately 70 residents joined the community meeting via Zoom or Facebook and 462 residents completed the online survey.

As MSA further refined concepts and began to develop cost estimates, it became clear that a detailed underground drainage plan addressing stormwater runoff should be developed and implemented as the next step. Fixing this fundamental issue of flooding within the park would then inform the necessary scope of future improvements for the athletic fields and tennis courts, enabling MSA to develop more accurate cost estimates for future phasing.

PUBLIC MEETING / COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

DETAILS

Summer Community Engagement Activities

  • Online Survey: July 30-August 11
  • Community Meeting: July 29

ASSOCIATED DOCUMENTS

Look for Associated Documents here. To view all Presentations and Survey Results, search our Archives Portal – Parks Projects using the Northam Park Fields & Tennis project name.

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