• Mike Burkons

What Beachwood is gaining by adding $700k to the cost of the $500k pickleball project?

When GPD first presented their design to build 6 new pickleball courts at the August 8, 2022 committee meeting, they told Council the total project cost would be under $500k. This original design showed the new pickleball courts encroaching upon some of the garden boxes in the community gardens but Council was assured at this meeting that there was plenty of room within the current location of the community gardens, which would still have a length of 122 feet, to relocate any of the garden boxes displaced by the new pickleball courts.


Then, just seven weeks later at the committee meeting on September 28, 2022, our City Engineer told Council the width of the footprint of the pickleball courts increased by 6 feet to create space for shade structures, and as a result, shrunk the width of the community gardens from 122 feet to 116 feet. To address this loss of 6 feet (which is less than 5% of the total space of the community gardens), he recommended amending the original $500k and increasing it to $1.2m to include building a new community garden about 120 east of the current location.


(Of course, this would also require a $30k increase in the fee his firm would be paid to design this project and go from $39,800 to $69,800, and likely increase the fees on the construction administration/inspection contract his firm would receive by $20k to $40k).


This should trigger the following logical question everyone should demand be answered...


If shrinking the width of the community gardens from 122 feet to 116 feet really made GPD's original $500k plan unworkable, instead of adding $700k to the cost of the project to build a new community gardens 120 feet from the current location, why didn't the City Engineer simply recommend adding more space to the current location by extending the fenced in area on the other side of the community gardens by 6ft, which as you can see in the red shaded area in the picture below, there is plenty of room to do?


I think the answer is pretty clear as the City Engineer's firm won't be able to increase their fees on this project by $50k-$70k if he recommends this commonsense solution.

What we are told will be better about this new upgraded $1.2m plan, that are improvements our service department can't make for relatively little cost while sticking with the original $500k plan?


The following is a list of things we have been told will be better about GPD's new $1.2m plan than the original $500k, to justify why we would choose it, and what it would cost to make those upgrades/improvements while sticking with the original $500k plan.


Improvement #1

We were told it is better to have the raised garden boxes on dirt or gravel, instead of asphalt like they are at the current community gardens.

  • GPD’s detailed cost specs have the demo of the asphalt costing $10k and removing it costing $10,256 for a total of $20,256 if we contracted this out.

  • However, this is something our service department is more than capable of doing in house, with little or no added costs, as well as re-leveling and re-grading the land once the asphalt is removed.

Improvement #2

Building an ADA compliant walkway from the community center parking lot to the current location of the community gardens. This is a more ideal place for gardeners to park, than the pool parking lot. The pool parking lot is further away, and during the summer, there isn't always available parking spaces which is rarely the case in the community center parking lot.

  • The walkway would be approximately 200 feet long by 6 feet wide for a total of 1,200 square feet. GPD’s detailed specs have concrete walkways costing $10 per square foot so this would cost $12,000 if we contracted that out and choose to make it a concrete walkway, instead of an asphalt walkway, which costs less.

  • However, this is something our service department is more than capable of doing in house for cost of materials so it would likely cost less than half the $12k amount. Keep in mind that our service department cleared and leveled all the land for the dog park and the outdoor fitness court, and they also did all the concrete and walkway work for both of these projects.

Improvement #3

If more space is needed in the current location of the community gardens, this could easily be accomplished by extending the current fenced in area to the north and/or the east.

  • If there was a need to extend the fencing to both the north and the east, it would require around 300 linear feet of new fencing, which costs about $30 per linear foot installed, or $9,000 if we were to contract this out.

  • However, this is something our service department is more than capable of doing in house for cost of materials so it would likely cost less than half the $9k amount.

Improvements #4 & #5

Place two 12x12 shade structures ($2,500k each = $5k total) and a 10x15 garden shed ($3k) for a total of $8,000.


Improvement #6

According to GPD, adding the two sand volleyball courts to Plan B only added $42,881.50 to the plan, which I backed out since there didn't seem to be support to keep them in the plan. As you can see in the short video below, if the City keeps them in the plan in an attempt to claim these sand volleyball courts add significant value to justify Plan B's $700k increase from the original $500k pickleball project, it is clearly disingenuous as the Mayor himself said, which you can see in the short clip below, "I don’t care if we have sand volleyball courts or not".

Let's add up the cost of all the improvements...

Even if we contracted out all of the improvements/upgrade above to the current location of the community gardens, to bring them up to the same standard we are told the proposed new community gardens will be at, this would only add up to $49,256 (and likely cost less than half of that amount because these are things our service department is more than capable of doing in house at the cost of materials).


This would bring the original $500k cost of Plan A up to $549,256, about $650,000 less than Plan B's cost of $1.2m and the only thing anyone can cite that will be better about the new location of the community gardens than the current one, is it will be closer to parking and be a 20 second walk from your car rather than a 40 second walk.


This should be an easy decision for Council when they are asked to vote to put the construction contract for this updated design out to bid, which we were told will likely happen in December. If you want this type of illogical and wasteful spending to stop, and care about good and responsible government, ask every Councilmember to explain what specifically they believe will be better about the new community garden that is an improvement that our service department can't make at the current location, which they believe justifies the $650k it adds to the project.


If an elected official can't provide an answer that satisfies you, and you think money would be better spent working with the schools to improve our community's sport fields and playgrounds, don't vote for anyone who votes to move the updated $1.2m "Plan B" forward.


That is all and feel free to call (216-832-6771) or email (Mike@burkonsforbeachwood.com) with any thoughts, concerns or questions.


Mike Burkons

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