Phase 2 of the Guntersville Parks renovation will involve rebuilding the Lions baseball complex between the Rec Center and Highway 69.
But there's a swampy wooded area behind the current ballfield complex and the rebuild will intrude into that.
As a result, the city will need to purchase "wetland credits" to offset the wetlands that are disturbed.
Garett Younanian of Barge Design was at Tuesday night's Council meeting to talk about the credits, why they are needed and their cost. The Lions rebuild is being called Phase 2 of the park renovation.
"As part of our environmental review of the site, we have identified wetlands that could be impacted in both Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the project," Younanian said.
To offset loss of wetlands in a project like this, you go to a "wetlands bank" and buy the credits. Disturbed wetland must be mitigated at a ratio of 2:1 or 2 credits for every acre of wetlands disturbed.
Younanian said they will have to go through an 8 to 12 month permitting process with the Army Corps of Engineers. But he said the city needs to line up its credits now.
In developing the budget for the project, he said, they estimated the wetland credits for Phase 2 would cost $240,000. But the actual price has come in at $292,500.
Younanian said some other items would likely come in under budget so he doesn't see the wetland credits being a budget breaker.
He did say the Council would need to reserve its credits now by making a down payment of $28,500 towards the purchase.
Councilman Randy Whitaker said it if turned out the city didn't need the credits for Phase 2, could they be transferred to Phase 3.
Younanian said they could.
He said wetland credits must be in essentially the same watershed where the impact is taking place. These credits are apparently being developed on the Flint River.
He said credits are kind of scarce and the Council would want to lock them in now.
The two fields at Lions now are built side by side. The new configuration will have them back-to-back, thus the need to get into the wetlands. More parking, landscaping and decorative fencing will be added at the park. Mayor Dollar said the parking upgrade is badly needed. It will include some type of barrier between the parking and busy Sunset Drive.
The Council voted unanimously to pay money down on the credits.