Public Works Director Jeremy Lollar gave Westfield City Council members an update on the Grand Junction Plaza progress during its Dec. 14 meeting, and councilman Troy Patton was blunt in his response to it.
Lollar confirmed that the budget for the project is approximately $31.5 million, roughly $1 million under budget. However, $11 million in changes had to be completed through a value engineering process to lower the project’s cost. Changes include eliminating above-ground construction for the trailhead building, eliminating the vertical structure for the amphitheater, changing the playground layout and eliminating the permanent ice-skating rink. The trailhead and amphitheater can be constructed in the future when more funds are available. The city will use a third party to offer a temporary ice-skating rink during the winter months.
Patton said the final product was not at all what the community expected.
“This is so disheartening to see this,” Patton said. “We’ve promised something to the people of Westfield and, frankly, we’ve soiled our pants and now everybody has to smell it.”
Interjecting, Mayor Andy Cook called Patton’s comments disrespectful and disgusting.
“I can’t let this go,” Cook said. “I want to remind you (that) this entire project was developed over a long period of time by a very large citizen group. There were more citizens involved and more transparency in this than any project other than Grand Park.”
Because the item was only a presentation, the council didn’t vote. Lollar said a construction walk-through will be conducted at the site in January or February. For more, visit westfield.in.gov.