That’s the date when the city hosts a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium.
The announcement comes following a City Council decision Monday night to approve $2.2 million in construction bids for the upcoming stadium reconstruction project. This upcoming phase of work will include the new seating, stage and sports surface, and the addition to the Depot building.
“We’re looking to mobilize next week with temporary fencing (and an) official groundbreaking Friday (Sept. 29),” said Dan Grover, project manager with Progressive AE. “Really, we're up against Mother Nature. Right now, the weather is beautiful, so we're going to try and take full advantage and get the Depot expansion piece ... finished this year.
“At some point on the Waterfront Stadium, we're going to have to stop because we can't be pouring concrete in a foot or 2 of snow,” Grover added. “The plan is, as soon as snow leaves in early April, we’ll get back out there and finish it up as quickly as possible.”
On Sept. 8, staff reviewed construction bids for the project at Progressive AE headquarters, and bids were also subject to review by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Grants Management Section. In July, the city accepted a DNR Trust Fund grant for $280,000, with a $674,900 local match, and all bid documents needed to meet certain requirements set by the Trust Fund.
“(Monday), we got approval from the DNR to move ahead with these, so that condition is already met,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said.
The new amphitheater will have seating made up of low terraced retaining walls with grass surfaces. The 1,146-square-foot stage will be located in the northwest corner of the site adjacent to the Grand River, and will include removable fabric panels to create a band shell.
Additional portable bleachers will be able to be placed between the Depot building and the stadium as needed, and will be stored off site. Accessible walkways will be provided throughout the site, with some pathways being reinforced to accommodate emergency and special-event vehicles.
The stadium project will also include a 1,658-square-foot expansion to the Depot building. The expansion will match the existing historic building with brick, fiber cement panels, cast stone, metal accents and an asphalt shingle roof. The building will be used for ticketing, concessions, new bathrooms and a lobby.
Additionally, the parking lot to the immediate north of the stadium will be reduced in size by six spaces to accommodate the Depot expansion. The parking lot will provide two additional accessible parking spaces, and six bicycle loops will be added to the site.
"The total budget with all fees included, including those for design work, is just below $3.2 million," McGinnis said, noting that it is money that is already on-hand. “We're looking good on the budget side of things."
McGinnis said additional project fundraising will go toward outfitting the Depot and getting that facility ready for an alternate use.
Mayor Geri McCaleb said she is enthusiastic about moving ahead with the stadium project, and noted that it has been a long time since the city and local stakeholders first began talking about improvements to the stadium.
"It's been worth the effort, and all the people who have been involved in this, and all the opinions we've gathered, and all the input that we've had,” she said. “It’s going to be very gratifying to see it.”