Crews continue work at Parham Bridges

By ANTHONY WARREN,

Despite wet weather, contractors are making progress on the much-anticipated new entrance to Parham Bridges Park.

Last week, crews were expected to wrap up work on the curb and gutter, and begin pouring asphalt for the new driveway, said Parks and Recreation Director Ison Harris.

“Since we’ve gotten the notice to proceed, rain has been a hinderance. Contractors had 120 days once they got the notice, and they’re still well within that,” he said.

A notice to proceed is the official notice government entities issue to contractors allowing them to commence work on a project.

The notice for this project was issued in June.

Four Seasons Enterprises is doing the work. Earlier this year, the firm was awarded a $114,000 contract.

The project includes moving the park’s current entrance to a new location at 4940 Old Canton Rd. The site was formerly home to the old Jackson Police Precinct Four substation, which was torn down in 2017 to make way for the project.

The current entrance is located in Old Canton’s 5000 block, between Green Oak Florist and the Parham Bridges Tennis Center.

The entrance is being moved, in part, to make room for additional tennis courts and to help make it easier for motorists to get on and off of park premises.

About 12,000 vehicles a day travel the 4000 block of Old Canton, while 19,000 vehicles travel the 5000 block, according to Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) traffic count data.

Relocating the entrance is the first phase of what Northsiders hope will be a series of major renovations at the popular park.

Tennis center officials want to add an additional four courts, which will help Parham Bridges attract larger tournaments.

The project was expected to get under way in late 2017, but the work was delayed by several complications.

Initially, Jackson had brought on Hemphill Construction to build the entrance. Hemphill, though, couldn’t get started until the old substation and its concrete slab were removed.

Removal of the slab took longer than expected, so long that Hemphill’s contract had expired.

City officials had hoped to amend that agreement, but concrete prices had gone up so much that the work had to be re-bid under state law.

While that work is moving forward, plans to build a splash pad at the Parham Bridges playground are being delayed at least until the next fiscal year.

In the spring, Harris told the Sun the city planned to build two splash pads this summer – one at Parham Bridges and another at a park in Presidential Hills.

“When we did the cost estimate three years ago, we could do two for $500,000,” he said. “When we bid them out in January or February, we realized we could only do one. The cost was well over $450,000.”

The city chose Presidential Hills, because residents there no longer have access to the city swimming pool. The pool closed three years ago, so the splash pad was needed, Harris said.

As for Parham Bridges, Harris hopes to include funding for that splash pad in the 2020 budget.

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