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Major improvements in store for Goldwater Lake day use area

PRESCOTT - By the end of the year, visitors to Prescott's popular Goldwater Lake should have substantially improved amenities awaiting them.

The Prescott City Council approved an $846,741 contract with Fann Contracting Tuesday for expansion of the day use area at the Senator Highway-area lake.

Among the new features will be a water well and potable water system, 100 additional paved parking spaces, two group pavilions, two restrooms, a playground, and a ceremony pad for weddings and other events.

The expansion project has been under consideration for more than a year, with parks and recreation officials proposing the use of parks impact fees to cover the cost.

A city memo noted that the parks impact fee fund currently contains about $1.5 million - money that the city generated through its $715-per-home park impact fee that new homebuilders paid to help cover the costs of the impacts of growth.

State law limits the use of the impact-fee money to expansion of "facilities and infrastructure to accommodate new demand from community growth," the city memo added.

This past February, the council indicated its support for the Goldwater expansion by approving an $88,248 contract for the design of the improvements.

Parks and Recreation Director Joe Baynes has emphasized that the current lake park cannot adequately accommodate all of the people who want to use the scenic forest lake. On busy summer weekends, he said, visitors are often turned away when the parking spaces fill up.

Baynes pointed out this week that the lake day-use construction dates back to 1979, "when Prescott's population was approximately 20,000."

Council members continued their support for the project this week. "This is exactly why the money was set aside," Councilman Chris Kuknyo said. "I think it's going to be a fantastic project."

The expansion will occur in an undeveloped area southeast of the existing park.

Although the city had initially anticipated having the expansion complete by the end of this summer, Baynes said the start of construction was pushed off, in part, so it would not interrupt the heavy summer use.

The city expects the construction to begin in September and to take about three months to complete.

Throughout the fall work, Baynes said Goldwater Lake will remain open, and visitors should expect "minimal interruptions."

The project attracted four bids: Fann Contracting, $846,741; Asphalt Paving & Supply, $890,726; SDB, Inc., $968,769; and ABC Asphalt, $994,898.

Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter: @Cindy_Barks.