After swearing in new board members, Havelock commissioners took another step toward the completion of one of the city’s major park projects Monday night.

The board awarded Thomas Simpson Co., Inc. a contract for $634,456 to construct facilities, including a multi-purpose area, playground, picnic area, concession area and restroom facilities, at Lewis Farm Park. Commissioners also voted to use $207,000 from the city’s General Fund reserve account to help pay for the project.

City Manager Frank Bottorff said the majority of funding for the project would come from a $460,000 Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant.

During the board’s November meeting, Bottorff told commissioners that bids for construction at Lewis Farm Park had come in higher than expected, with the lowest bid received from Thomas Simpson Construction.

Though the board made cost-cutting changes to the park’s original plan, Bottorff explained that certain park features, such as the playing field, picnic shelter and playground, had to be retained as a condition of the grant.

To cut costs, the board opted to scale back on some aesthetic options included in the original Thomas Simpson Co. bid, such as additional landscaping, decorative fences and a flagpole. The changes reduced the approved contract cost by almost $55,000.

According to Mark Garner, vice president of Rivers and Associates, Inc. of Greenville, the approximately eight-month project would need to be completed by September of 2018 to meet the grant specifications.

In other business, N.C. Representative Michael Speciale administered the oath of office to newly elected board member Jim Kohr. Returning commissioner Brenda Wilson and Mayor Will Lewis were sworn in by City Clerk Cindy Morgan.