CHEYENNE – Construction of the highly-anticipated Cheyenne Depot Plaza splash pad is still on hold, according to officials familiar with the project.
Officials said in June they would delay construction of the splash pad to avoid conflicting with Cheyenne Frontier Days, when thousands of tourists and participants were in town.
But this delay involves an unexpected complication with infrastructure at the splash pad site as the design neared completion, according to an email from Ben Hornok of T C Solutions, LLC, who is advising the city on the project, to city leaders.
According to Hornok’s email, the splash pad is designed to have a discharge line running to both the sanitary and storm sewers. Treated water from backwashing and draining goes into the sanitary sewer while rain water is diverted to the storm sewer, he said.
“As the civil engineer worked to finalize the underground piping, requirements were added by various agencies due to the restrictions of the site,” he said. “To run the sanitary sewer line and connect to the city main line, a manhole had to be added and the line had to be upsized to meet flow requirements.”
Hornok stated that workers would need to install a manhole and a sanitary line 10- to 14-feet deep across Capitol Avenue, which would come at additional cost for the project.
He stated that an option to avoid the manhole would involve connecting the storm sewer closer to the site. However, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, the city, Board of Public Utilities and the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department would need to consent and that connection method would require dechlorination of wastewater.
Hornok also stated that they were “still hoping to begin construction soon, but these questions have delayed the final design and submission of the plans for a permit.”
Mayor Marian Orr said a City Council workshop could be needed to discuss the issues.
“In my opinion, this is a project that was not designed first, yet had support and money, and we’re finding that the design is really quite difficult,” Orr said. “Some think this is a plug-and-play splash pad, but that’s not the case when you are unearthing some of our oldest infrastructure in downtown Cheyenne.”
The splash pad, which shoots water a few feet in the air so children and families can run through it, will be free and open to the public, with ongoing maintenance conducted by the city.
Construction, once it starts, is expected to take six to eight weeks.
“We’re going to access what needs to be done,” Orr said. “We need estimates on how much more it’s going to cost, and we’re going to have to find where that money is going to come from, because we don’t have that budgeted.”
The project was originally proposed in the Downtown Core Plan developed by Visit Cheyenne, Cheyenne LEADS, the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce and the Cheyenne Downtown Development Authority in 2016.
The city pledged $250,000 to the project, pending a match of about $300,000 raised from community organizations and individuals. The matching goal was reached last December, six months prior to a city-imposed June deadline.
More than 150 individuals, 120 businesses and 25 civic groups donated to the cause.
The effort included sizable contributions from the Cheyenne Downtown Development Authority, Laramie County Economic Joint Powers Board and Visit Cheyenne. Other donors were Cheyenne Frontier Days and the Laramie County Community College Foundation.
Jill Pope, director of operations for Visit Cheyenne, said many projects encounter setbacks and delays.
“Water treatment is important,” Pope said. “We’re disappointed that there’s a delay, but we want to do this right the first time. We’ll take the time to do this right and keep the project moving as swiftly as possible.”
The water feature will be active when weather conditions and temperatures allow operation, and will include a recycling pump so the water will be appropriately filtered and reused.
Project engineers estimate the splash pad will use about 17,000 gallons for the entire summer season, according to a Visit Cheyenne informational web page on the project.