Harmon Park project hits snag

A splash pad would accompany a brand new playground in the new construction plans. (submitted photo)

Bid comes in at $2 million more than expected

After rejecting the only construction bid it received for a major redevelopment at Harmon Park, the West St. Paul City Council decided to split the project into two parts and restart the bidding process.

The city had expected the Harmon Park renovation and expansion would cost about $3.8 million, which it planned to finance by issuing general obligation bonds. But then the sole bid came in at $5.8 million -- $2 million more than expected.

The city had solicited bids from about a dozen contractors, and officials were disappointed when they received just one bid. 

Some wondered if the original cost estimate was the problem, and questioned whether the large-scale project was going to be more expensive than originally thought.

One will focus on the building and construction process, while the other will include more of the physical site such as grading and creating new playing fields.

The building contractor will cover such things as new park buildings, a new hockey rink and any other construction projects, while the site contractor will cover outdoor lighting and grading.

“We broke the project into two parts. It’s possible that one contractor could get both bids, but it felt like it would be better if we broke it into two parts with two contractors,” said Dave Schletty, assistant public works director. “Hopefully, this will get us closer to a price we were hoping for.”

The city is hoping the second round of bidding will be more successful and contracts will be awarded in early July, with construction to start by the end of the summer.

The construction plan involves six new baseball and softball diamonds, one outdoor hockey rink, a football/soccer field hybrid, and a new playground with a splash pad.

The baseball and softball fields will be equipped to meet the official Little League regulations for both sports. The basketball court will be reduced from a full court to just a half-court, based on the outlined drawings.

This will all be rounded out by a 159-stall parking lot. The added lighting has concerned some nearby homeowners. West St. Paul’s Community Development director Jim Hartshorn said those issues were addressed at the March 24 council meeting.

You can reach Tim Faklis at 651-748-7814, at tfaklis@lillienews.com, or on Twitter @tfaklisnews.


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