Work to start on Bridges projectBy ANTHONY WARREN,
A long-awaited project to build a new entrance at Parham Bridges Park is slated to get under way in June.
Last week, the Jackson City Council hired Four Seasons Enterprises to do the work, which includes building a new entrance to the popular park and tennis center in the 4000 block of Old Canton Road.
The contract is for $114,000. Four Seasons submitted the lowest and best bid, according to city documents. The firm will have six months to complete the project, once a notice to proceed is issued.
“We’re just changing the entrance from one spot on Old Canton to the other one,” said Parks and Recreation Director Ison Harris. “We’ll beautify it a little bit.”
The entrance will be located at the site of the old Jackson Police Precinct Four substation, at 4940 Old Canton, which was torn down in 2017 to make way for the project.
The current entrance is located between Green Oak Florist and the Parham Bridges Tennis Center, in Old Canton’s 5,000 block.
The entrance is being moved, in part, to make room for additional tennis courts, and because the new entrance will be easier for motorists to get in and out of, Harris explained.
“You can’t get out at the other Old Canton (spot),” he explained.
There, Old Canton averages about 19,000 vehicles a day, compared to 12,000 vehicles that travel in front of the old substation, according to Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) traffic count maps.
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.
“We had the money to do it, but based on state law, because the increase was more than 15 percent, it triggered a re-bid,” Harris told the Sun previously.
Hemphill’s initial contract was for $98,483. With increases in concrete prices, the new contract cost would have been between $118,000 and $120,000 at the time, Harris said.
Under state law, the contract could have been amended had costs stayed at or below $113,205.45.
Relocating the entrance is the first phase of what Northsiders hope will be major renovations at the popular park.
Tennis center officials want to add an additional four courts, which will help Parham Bridges attract larger tournaments.
Now, the center has 14 courts, a large number when Parham Bridges opened more than four decades ago, but small when compared to the mega-tennis complexes of today.
By comparison, a tennis center in Mobile has 60 courts, while Nashville has two centers in close proximity with 24 courts each.
Also, the city of Jackson is planning to spend $250,000 to install a new children’s splash pad at the park playground and another $27,000 to add rubberized surfacing under the park’s play area.