Design for Dover waterfront park pavilion revealed. Project costs being calculated.

DOVER — A park pavilion coming to the Cohecho River waterfront development is in the works as the decades-in-the-making project moves forward.

City consultant CJ Architects has designed a two-level park pavilion to be located at the waterfront alongside the Cathartes development of 400-plus riverside residential units, including apartments and townhouses, and about 26,000 square feet of commercial space. The city is building an adjacent 3.4-acre public park that will feature a public boat dock and kayak launch as part of the overall project.

CJ Architects’ vision for the park pavilion, which would have a 2,300-square- foot footprint, includes an open porch on three sides of the structure. It would include a 700-square-foot visitor space, built-in seating, boat storage, and an informational kiosk with food and art. 

“We came up with this as our base model that we feel ecompasses everything that we had been striving for,” said Carla Goodknight, principal of CJ Architects, at the committee’s meeting last week. “We have the gateway element, we have the dramatic covered gathering space, we have some boat area set aside, a grand staircase coming down, a vendor here and support bathrooms.”

The company is in the midst of finalizing bid documents and construction estimates for the project but currently anticipates it will cost around $1.6 million, according to Deputy City Manager Christopher Parker.

The final cost projection won’t be known until the construction bid period is open and responses are received.

The city has applied for and received a Land Water Conservation Fund grant worth $500,000, Parker added. In its application, the city noted it expected construction costs to be around $1.3 million. 

“This will make the project, no matter the final cost, be more viable,” Parker said of the grant award.

The Cochecho Waterfront Development Advisory Committee voted unanimously on Sept. 26 to approve CJ Architects’ pavilion design.

“It’s a great, iconic building for this space that will again be viewed from not only the development side that we’re working on, but from across the river, as well,” committee chairperson Norm Fracassa at the meeting. “Especially being out on somewhat of a point, you’ll be seeing this structure from multiple different places in the city.”

Parker told the committee the City Council will need to approve the Land Water Conservation Fund grant for the project. 

“We need to create something that we can maintain that’s usable and realistic but not off the shelf of some home improvement store,” Parker said last week. 

According to Goodknight, the pavilion would be winterized in the offseason.

“There won’t be enough activity in the offseason to warrant running it,” Goodknight stated last week.

Dover leaders, representatives of Cathartes and members of the public attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the waterfront development project in June. 

Waterfront project manager Jamie Stevens informed the committee last week that the city is aiming to have a “pad ready” site for Cathartes to begin one of its buildings by April 1, 2024.