TRAVERSE CITY — The curious wandered through the not-quite finished Clinch Park while Rick Alpers watched, waiting for his last concrete pour to set footprint-free as the sun began its daily descent.
Alpers, who works for general contractor Hallmark Construction, has worked seven days a week for the last month to help prepare the park for its grand reopening on Tuesday at 11 a.m. The $2.9 million project will finish within its budget, despite delays owed to a late spring and rainy April.
No worries, Hallmark President Dennis Fedorinchik said. Tuesday's a go for the opener. Alpers almost can't believe crews will make it in under the deadline wire.
"It's amazing, because if you asked me two weeks ago I'd have said we'd never make it," Alpers said. "It's been a good job, a lot of interesting things."
Alpers noted the exacting specifications of sidewalk slopes designed to ensure every inch met American with Disabilities Act specifications, and the 219 drill bits it took to create 220 holes in stainless steel pipes that will create rain at a splash pad that's to be lit by LED lights powered by a wind turbine.
"To see what it came from to where it is now ... I like the place and I'm going to spend some time down here," Alpers said.
Traverse City planner Russ Soyring shepherded the bayfront project through city bureaucracy since its start as a concept in 2004. He visits the work site every day and said what most impresses him is the care and quality of the work, as well as the people carrying out the tasks.
"They are a key part of this and they are the ones making sure it is a high-quality park, not people like me who push paper around all day," Soyring said.