MILTON — Milton’s Gill Bass Park was just a grassy field until the city broke ground April 21; however, plans have recently been updated and the completion date extended.
Hewes and Company, a general contractor out of Pensacola in charge of building the park, submitted a change order to add $10,000 to the project. This covers improved design of the fountain providing water filtration and tiled lining for easier maintenance; the city approved the order. Milton awarded Hewes and Company $547,629 in late 2016 to build the park.
Hewes and Company also requested an extension of the completion date, which was originally May 26, to now be Sept. 30, providing time for the county to review the project plan and to incorporate new fountain design upgrades. The City Council approved this extension.
"Even with this summer’s weather delays, the city is making good progress on Gill Bass Park," Pamela Holt, Milton public information officer and marketing director, said. "We expect for the passive park to be completed within 120 days or so."
The project, costing $750,000, will include street lights, landscaping, walking paths, a gazebo and a historic mill stone fountain. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity awarded Milton a $700,000 Community Development Block Grant in 2013, and the city contributed $50,000 toward the project.
The grant included $137,000 to move electrical, phone and cable lines underground along North Canal Street from U.S. 90 to Berryhill Street, which City Manager Brian Watkins said will enhance the area aesthetically.
Long-time Milton resident Steve Gill donated the lot, on the corner of Canal and Pine streets, to the city in 2010 under the condition that the lot be turned into a passive park. Gill, who died in June, originally planned to build a house on the property with his wife but decided it would better serve the community as a park. Gill was able to attend the ground breaking ceremony in April.
On June 5, the city approved the color scheme for the park’s gazebo: metallic copper for the roof and black anti-graffiti for the body. On June 13, the City Council approved spending $2,505 to remove three diseased or damaged trees and plant new ones at the park.