A Lakeland firm was awarded a nearly $128,000 contract to excavate at Grant-Hunter Pond so it can handle more storm water.
But that's just the first step toward transforming the pond so it's both more useful and a neighborhood amenity.
The city expects to spend a total of about $250,000 to make the pond more attractive and able to store more storm water. Half of the cost will be paid by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Marcobay Construction won the bid to increase the storage capacity of the pond by excavating a channel and adding baffles and piping. In all, the company will remove about 160 dump truck lots of dirt at the 11.2-acre site at Grant and Hunter streets, City Engineer Brett Gocka said.
The city needs to increase the capacity of the pond so it can handle storm water from the proposed redevelopment of Midtown, which is just south of downtown. The city hopes to find a developer to transform the mainly commercial area into an array of shops and residences.
The excavation work, expected to start soon, will take about 30 to 45 days.
The second part of the project deals with aesthetics: The city wants to add an 8-foot walking trail, benches and lighting in a project it hopes will wrap up by mid-January.
Once completed, the pond will compare with the 11-acre Samuel W. Cooper Park at 900 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., which includes a small lake and has drawn rave reviews for aesthetics, City Manger Greg Horwedel said.
Horwedel is also seeking suggestions for a new name for Grant-Hunter, which he said isn't very appealing.
"Please, if anyone has a name for it, please send it in," he said. "I don't want to call it the Grant-Hunter Pond. That doesn't exactly roll off the tongue."
Anyone with a suggestion can call Horwedel's office at City Hall at (813) 659-4200.