Grandview Forest Park remains closed to the public after the city terminated a contract with an independent contractor slated to remove diseased trees.
The park originally closed in early August after more than 20 trees were identified as being infected with laminated root rot, a disease that weakens trees and kills them from the roots up.
Due to Evergreen Forestry Resources not fulfilling the terms of the city contract, the city terminated the contract on Sept. 21. The contractor did not submit a required performance and payment bond, said Public Works Director Jeff Langhelm.
Four trees still need to be removed from the park and the trails are “not worthy for people to be walking on,” Langhelm said.
In a Sept. 20 police report, a worker with Evergreen reported continued issues with pedestrians walking through the closed-off park. The worker also reported an estimated $500 in damage to an excavator.
A new contractor is expected to be on board by December or January. For now, city staff members are working to secure the park.
On Monday night, signs and orange ropes circled the park to warn visitors not to enter.
“I’m just shocked at the level of supervision that didn’t take place on that project,” council member Michael Perrow said. “Safety of the public should be held as high as (possible).”
Grandview Forest Park is located next to the Civic Center, at 3448 Grandview St.
The council also heard plans Monday night for a piece of public art at Maritime Pier. While the original call for artists asked for a 7-foot-tall piece, a larger 10-foot-tall piece is now being considered.
The reason for the height change is to make the statue of a gig boat more realistic.
In addition to height, which has been reconsidered, the call for artists criteria included honoring the maritime heritage of the city, complimenting existing architecture, engaging visitors and using durable materials.
The projected cost of the proposed piece is $27,050 — still far below the maximum budget of $50,000, said Charlee Glock-Jackson, chair of the arts commission.
The project has already been approved by the parks commission. It would sit near the Tides Tavern and at the entrance of Maritime Pier, at 3003 Harborview Drive.
Seattle-based artist Matthew Dockrey was selected for the new piece after submitting a design for a rowboat. The sculpture was then changed to a gig boat as an homage to the city’s namesake, Glock-Jackson said.
The meeting wrapped up before a special work session on growth in the city. Planning Director Jennifer Kester presented facts and figures on Gig Harbor’s booming population, which now ranks as the third-fastest growing city in the county.
The planning presentation is the first in a series. Mayor Jill Guernsey she wants city staff to consider what will happen in Gig Harbor as the population grows. The presentations will cover the needs of each department as the city creeps toward a 10,000-person population mark.
Currently the population is 8,555, but Kester said it could jump to more than 10,000 in five years.