Contract OK’d For Paths at Leslie Science

At its June 19, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor park advisory commission recommended approval of a $115,309 contract with JB Contractors Inc. to construct barrier-free pathways at the Leslie Science and Nature Center. The recommendation includes a 10% contingency, for a total project cost of $126,840.

JB Contractors provided the lowest of two bids. Funding will be provided from the city’s park maintenance and capital improvements millage.

PAC had been briefed on this project – the first phase of a larger renovation – at a Feb. 28, 2012 park commission meeting. The center, located at 1831 Traver Road, was previously part of the city’s parks system, but since 2007 has operated as an independent nonprofit. However, the city still owns and maintains the buildings and property.

Parks planner Amy Kuras told commissioners that the goal of the changes to the pathways is to make the center compliant with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and to make the pathways and overall organization of the site less confusing.

The center’s raptor enclosures – housing owls, falcons, a bald eagle and other birds of prey – are located at the highest part of the site. The birds are very popular, so the intent is to make the area as accessible as possible. In addition to pathways, there will be better signs indicating how to get to the enclosures, as well as directions to other parts of the center.

Susan Westhoff, the center’s executive director, attended the June 19 PAC meeting and spoke briefly about the need for the path improvements. Francie Krawcke, the center’s raptor program director, was also on hand with one of the birds of prey.

This brief was filed from the second-floor city council chambers at city hall, 301 E. Huron, where PAC meets. A more detailed report will follow: [link]