A new permanent stage under construction at Bennett’s Creek Park. The facility will cost the city a little over $75,000 and save money associated with the portable stage currently used, a city official said.
A new permanent stage under construction at Bennett’s Creek Park. The facility will cost the city a little over $75,000 and save money associated with the portable stage currently used, a city official said.

Archived Story

$75,000 stage almost complete

Published 10:13pm Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A permanent stage at Bennett’s Creek Park will be a useful entertainment facility for years into the future, the city’s parks and recreation director says.

Under construction toward the back of the park since about the beginning of the year, the stage will be fully accessible for the handicapped and feature permanent lighting and electrical outlets for various pieces of performance equipment, Lakita Watson said.

“It’s very durable and aesthetically pleasing and fits right into the overall park setting,” she said.

The city realized that building a permanent stage, rather than relying on a transportable one, would be a smart investment, Watson said.

Funded from a capital maintenance line item in the Capital Improvement Plan — “utilized to make renovations and for additions to existing park facilities,” Watson said — the stage is costing a total of $75,458.56, according to city spokeswoman Diana Klink.

Five contractors are involved: Site Concepts, for the stage itself ($17,500); McEntire and Associates, for architectural and engineering services ($10,710); Nelson Enterprises, construction ($46,020); Holland Sand Pit, sand ($626), and Aggregate Transportation Corp, for stone ($602.56).

Watson added, “Every year we look at our overall inventory and look at parks and facilities that need to have renovations or additions.”

In a growing part of North Suffolk with lots of young families, Bennett’s Creek Park is well utilized for events such as weekly TGIF concerts during summer, last weekend’s Eggstravaganza, the Relay for Life and more.

“We decided it was time to do this type of facility at Bennett’s Creek Park on the back of the amount of events that we get out there,” Watson said.

Planning for the stage commenced about the beginning of last fall, she said, adding that her department looked to other permanent stages in the surrounding area for design inspiration.

The stage will be complete in the near future, Watson said. Recent inclement weather has delayed the project a little, she added.

“We see this facility as a positive addition to Bennett’s Creek Park, while being a cost-saving measure in regards to staffing and travel that the previous portable stage required,” she said.

Groups will be able to rent the stage, she added. “Right now we are looking at $300 for a full day,” she said.

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  • Norseman

    The issue as i see it isn’t so much the stage itself, its all the waste building it. We could argue the need, but why did we need a study of any kind? I know for a fact there are many choices of prefab structures we could have had for a small fraction of this boondogle. All these studies are just done to provide cover for the council and other leaders from us and we stupid taxpayers pay for them. This could have been done as a community project with a good sites company getting in the slab & utilities( we have several in town) and a prefab roof structure. We did a similar(not as fancy) structure at the soccer fields in a weekend with free labor. You just have to ask and people that can will step up gladly. That is our main problem, we expect the Govt to do for us and then we bitch about it. As a Tea party Crazy Nut get involved with the movement put your ideas in, they are all valuable. As all of us can see the council does not read this section of the paper nor do they respect your views. Change their minds by firing them and replacing them on the council.

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  • KNRMCO

    thekytikat…I tried several years ago…letter & e-mail…nothing in response. I just got tired of the deaf ears. Thanks for offering a ride, I don’t travel well or often & when I do I realy on my husband. Unfortunately he works long hours & travels to boot. Suffolk is on it’s way to pushing us out….we’ve been here 18 yrs & nothing has changed. Time to move on!

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  • thekytikat

    Folks, things like this get pushed through as part of the CIP (Capital Improvements Program). This is why I went to speak out against the spending in the CIP when they had that public hearing a few weeks back. I was the only speaker. Where were you all?

    The Budget & the spending start with the CIP. Then the School Board has to finalize it’s budget & send a lump sum request to the City. The City doesn’t get to tell the School Board where to spend that money. If the teachers aren’t getting their raises, or if the schools are out of paper – take that up with the school board. Find out what they are spending & where they can cut back.

    After the CIP & the School Board, the city puts together it’s budget. Mayor Johnson says it’s not due til June 30, but they push it through by the first week of May – 4 weeks early – “so the schools can work on teacher contracts.”

    I see so many people here frustrated with council & the city spending. Where are you all on the first & third Wednesday night? Why aren’t you all packing that City Council hall every week, using the Non-Agenda Speakers time to tell council off? Milteer ran unopposed last year. Why aren’t you running for council opposite these guys?

    I get it. I’m frustrated too. It does feel like Council never listens. But how can they listen if you aren’t talking to them? The more people show up at every meeting, hollering at them, the more likely it is they will get the message.

    So, you’re fed up with spending like this. What are you going to do about it?

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    • KNRMCO

      Thekitykat….not trying to bug out, but I am 100% disabled….would LOVE to go to a council mtg. I can’t so I vent here…but I agree with you in that more people need to go & have their voice heard. Afterall WE pay them & WE give them a job.

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      • thekytikat

        Knrmco – Sorry to hear about ur disability. I understand how that can get in the way. I have the hardest time speaking in public. I have Asperger’s Syndrome, I’d rather hide behind my keyboard, it’s so much easier.

        May I ask, are you calling any of the Councilmen? Writing letters to them?

        Is there something you need that would help you get involved? A ride? I can’t promise anything, but if you let us know, we can try to help.

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      • suffolk legal

        It wouldnt’ matter going to a council meeting anyway. I went to ONE. And the whole time a citizen was talking at the podium, I saw several council members, including Mayor Johnson roll eyes, stare off, and act like they were not at all interested in listening to this poor guy. When he was done all they did was thank him for his “speech” and “concerns” and moved on. What a waste of time and energy. It’s pathetic.

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      • thekytikat

        So, mandacmoe — When will you be running for office to help us change the council?

        Easiest way to change the attitudes of City Council is to vote in new people. Duman, Gardy, Parr, & Brown are all up for reelection in 2014. Which one will you run against?

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  • murasaki01

    But city council says we cant fund the schools???? It’s a great time to get screwed in Suffolk!

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  • hambone

    Lets see the city council stated we don’t have the money to fund the schools . We will have to cut city services and probly raise real estate taxes but we have 80000 for a stage. Poor decisions continued tone made. We have teachers who have to buy supplies from there own money to teach and police officers were cut from the high school yet we have 80000 for a stage. This another bad decision by our bad leaders . But it’s great time to live in Suffolk mayor Johnson says.

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  • KNRMCO

    RATHER THAN SPEND $75k ON A STAGE/PAVILLION THAT WILL COST A TAXPAYER $300 TO RENT (WAIT DIDN’T I PAY FOR THIS ALREADY?)THE MONEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN SPENT ON CLEARING THE DITCHES DOWN HERE ON DESERT RD. THEY ARE FULL OF LEAVES, TRASH, DEBRIS & STANDING WATER. A HAVEN FOR MOSQUITOS. I WOULD HAVE PREFERED THE MONEY BEEN SPENT ON SOMETHING TO THAT EFFECT.

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    • suffolk legal

      agreed, i live on desert road also and the roads near the 4-way stop at whitemarsh are awful! constantly throwing out my alignment! there are 75 thousand different things that would have been better for the city to spend that money on. what a waste.

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      • KNRMCO

        MANDACMOE….they ignore the south & west end of suffolk. All their focus is on North Suffolk, AKA the “cash cow”. Trust me I don’t want any of that mess down here, I just want some of my TAX dollars being spent down here & not souly in the northern end of the City.

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      • suffolk legal

        yep…and with Linda Johnson as the mayor, that won’t change. she’s too invested in Northern Suffolk to worry about any other borough.

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  • happyGoLucky

    I am curious…just how many events a year require a stage at this location? It’s not the site for Peanut Fest, Strawberry fest, Neptune Fest, Harbor Fest, Downtown Suffolk Fest.. Heck, not even Driver-days…

    What are they going to do on this stage? Is the Parks and Rec director going to bring in her $30,000 golf cart and put it on display?..or host pimp your ride and add some other goodies to it? I agree Jhuxter…. wasteful spending.

    Additionally, @kittykat…if this kind of thing is in line with Suffolk’s Tea Party movement then I really don’t support that platform or this one..pardon the pun…

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    • thekytikat

      Nope, not a Tea Party thing, trust me. It is a waste of cash. But this money is gone. Won’t get it back.

      There are events out there – the summer concert series (which is likely another waste of city cash, but I won’t go there right now), & the Walk for something-or-other that was just in the paper a few weeks back is also held out there…. All of those events are areas where the city needs to find more corporate sponsorship or just cancel the events. I’ve told the Mayor that also.

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  • Lovebug

    I think its a good idea. Much better than the portable ones for sure. In the long run it will save money and also bring in money. Shes doing a good job thinking outside the box and looking for nice additions that will save money later on. I would much rather see money going to something good for the city rather than just being wasted.

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  • jhuxster

    Another waste of tax dollars. I thought we have a fancy gazebo already–why do we need another? Just think at over $75,000 in just SEVEN YEARS if we rent it every day of every year we’ll get our money back! Aren’t we glad we have such wise stewards of our tax dollars working for us?

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    • thekytikat

      Besides just the 300$ a day rental fee, you have to factor in the time spent by city employees putting up & taking down the portable one the city has. IDK how many employees it takes, but I’m sure it’s about 2-3 more than needed, and the $$ they make hourly to do the job…

      Yes, it will take a while for this thing to pay itself off, but if you factor in the cost of the portable being put up and taken down and transported by city employees, pretty sure it will be a lot less than 7 years when this things pays for itself.

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      • jhuxster

        Individuals using the portable stage would pay to use it–and thus most of the costs you discuss will be covered. Even if you consider that a wash, you have to remember–it has to be used every day for it to pay for itself in 7 years. If the grand gazebo behind the tourist center is any indication, it might be used on average 3 times a month which extends its payback. Besides you’re also forgetting–the city now has another outdoor facility that will need to continuous maintenance. You pay $75,000 for the stage today–and you now commit to costs for years to come. Again, I have no objection if people in the Bennett Creek park area want a stage I just think they should raise the money and build it. No business would invest in a piece of equipment that would require a minimum of 7 years to recoup their costs–it’s just not cost effective.

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      • Lovebug

        Either way you look at it this is better in my opinion. The other stage on wheels is always needing something fixed on it and nothing that needs to be fixed on those things is cheap.

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      • happyGoLucky

        Agree huxter. Attention supporters of this albatross .. 28k for design and engineering. 46k to build yet this yielded a design for a stage that results limited stage room due to the placement of the support poles??? How did this concept get approved let alone the location of this thing??

        Even if it were to be used you could barely fit a three piece band on the stage.

        How much to paint is needed to paint the poles and pressure wash the concrete treat the wood??? Maintenance costs??? For what… Karaoke?? The tea party is finished if their membership supports this folly. Not an alternative to our current peanut gallery. Certified members if you ask me..

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      • thekytikat

        I’m not supporting it…. just saying there were other costs to consider too. This money is already gone. Not much we can do about it. So we do stop more projects like this in the future?

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