Gering plans busy construction season on city projects | Local News

GERING – With plans for the downtown Civic Plaza ready to go, Gering is waiting for bids to come in for the second phase of construction.

Gering City Planner Annie Folck said the city will open bids the afternoon of Jan. 22 with construction on the final phase planned to start in early April.

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“The plaza will include new bathrooms that will fit into the downtown decor,” she said. “The bathrooms will also be insulated and heated and air conditioned so they can be used year-round. We want them to be available during the Christmas parade, Santa’s Village and the winter shopping season.”

A main stage area is also part of the plan for smaller live events and bands. The current grass area will be terraced to provide different levels for seating and some retaining walls will be installed.

All the walkways will be stamped in colored concrete and wrought iron fencing will surround the entire area. Fire pits and a water feature are also planned, but probably won’t be completed until the 2020 construction season.

“We designed the Civic Plaza to be an extension of the Gering Civic Center,” Folck said. “If you think of all the kinds of events they host, those events can also be hosted outside. I see it being used for wedding and family reunion type of events.”

The Gering Farmers Market will be back next season, and outdoor movie nights and music concerts will be planned.

Another idea that was discussed was a possible haunted garden walk for the Halloween season, keeping the plaza active throughout the year.

“I’d hate to build a facility like this and only see it open for three months in the summer,” Folck said.

Estimated cost for the plaza is in the $750,000 range, which includes the wrought iron fencing and extensive lighting.

Gering is currently looking at breaking ground in April with a 60 working day construction schedule. Ideally, the entire project would be finished by mid-July. Adding in some schedule flexibility, the latest date for completion is Aug. 31.

About the same time, once the summer softball season is over, the city plans to start on phase two of the Oregon Trail Park ballfields.

Gering City Engineer Brendan Lilly said that while construction will start this summer, the project probably won’t be finished until May 2020, in time for the softball and baseball season.

Two baseball and two softball fields near the municipal swimming pool are planned in a circular shape with a concessions and restroom building in the center.

The fields will be used during the summer by the Gering Girls Softball Association and by Gering Organized Baseball. During the school year, it will be home to the Gering High School girls’ softball team. Some of the local travel teams will be using the fields as well.

Lilly said the phase two ball field expansion has been in the Parks Department plan for some time. Last year, phase one was completed in Oregon Trail Park with a competition sized field that became home to the Western Nebraska Pioneers baseball team of the Expedition League.

“I’ve had great feedback about the field,” Lilly said. “Everyone is pleased with the way it turned out and the Pioneers winning the league championship was an added bonus. We had great turnout at all the games.”


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