After much discussion the Park Board decided to move forward with Christy-Foltz Inc. accepting a bid of $1,428,000 without a concrete finish date. Initially the board said they were prepared to vote on a 145 day contract, which would have the penguins arriving in May and the exhibiting opening in June, but after discussing it with the project developers they decided to go with a 245 day contract and try to finish before that.
Director of operations and facilities, Jim Kiefer says the board wants things done as quickly as possible but they didn’t want to put the contractors in a bind.
“We don’t want the contractors to feel like it’s a penalty to them. We are working with them, not against them, and we want them to make sure the project is done not only quickly, but correctly."
Zoo Director Dave Webster mentioned that the penguins were coming from a different atsmosphere and would need almost a month in their new habitat until they could be open to the public. Kiefer says Webster’s comments played a huge role in the board’s decision to go with the longer date.
“The penguins are coming from different zoos, different broods. It will take them a little while to get acclimated to the environment. Our main goal is to have them arrive safe and healthy and then be healthy when we open them up to the public.”
The board will be meeting with the contractors to discuss the length of the agreement. Cindy Deadrick-Wolfer says she wants it done as soon as possible, but the safety of the animals is what matters most.
Moving forward with the penguin exhibit was not the only thing on the agenda at last night’s park board meeting.
The board members also voted to move ahead with the development of two mini-golf courses and a new parking lot as part of the next phase of lakefront development. The courses would be the first pieces of Overlook Adventure Park to be installed.
The board also voted 3 to 1 to move back to their old meeting schedule, moving the 5:30 p.m. meeting back to noon, beginning after the first of the year. Board Member Bob Brilley brought up the motion after saying that they were not getting the public participation that they had hoped by moving the meetings to the evening.
President of the Decatur Macon County Animal Foundation Shirley Stanley presented the board with a check for $768.99 for their work with the shelter as well as their progress on the new dog park in Nelson Park.