Council takes a mulligan on Exploration Park project

Approves pair of change orders that will cost $1.5 million
By Dan Aznoff | Aug 02, 2018

Two bids that exceeded the city Engineer’s estimates for geotechnical studies to prepare a park in the North Pointe community forced the city council to reject both proposals and begin a search for less expensive options for the natural play area.

The decision was made during the regular city council meeting on Tuesday, July 24.

The one-acre parcel was given to the city by developers in lieu of mitigation fees in 2006. Ten years later, city council adopted a recommendation from the city’s Parks and Recreation Board that a natural area be adopted into the master plan for Exploration Park.

Based on the technical studies proposed for the site, the city engineer estimated the cost for the design phase at just over $1 million. The two proposals submitted for the project came in at $1.3 and $1.75 million.

“To reduce construction costs, staff made the recommendation to council to reject all current bids and reopen the project for bids by January 2019,” Interim City Manager Bob Stowe said. “Pushing out the timeline will provide the city with the opportunity to reduce costs on this project and ensure fiscal stewardship to Mill Creek residents.”

The council voted unanimously to accept the staff recommendation to reject both bids and to put the project out for bid again in early 2019, acknowledging that costs have probably gone up since the recommendation was adopted more than a year ago.

The Exploration Park project design currently incorporates a berm with a built-in slide, short tunnel, rock scramble walls, beaver cave/den, climbing logs, wetland area with foot-bridge, concrete walking paths, benches, picnic tables and additional trees and shrubs.

The project will also include drainage improvements and play features consisting of two tall climbing boulders, a large climbing rope structure and a basket swing. Concrete walking paths and entrances to the park will meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

As part of the re-bid package, staff was directed pursue a contract amendment to revise the final design to include alternate bid items such as climbing boulders and climbing play features to provide additional cost saving measures if needed.

In other council business, the council approved a change order for the reconstruction project on 35th Ave. SE that will cost the city $998,000 to meet revised guidelines mandated by the state department of Fish and Wildlife.

In keeping with the change order theme for the evening, the council also voted 7-0 to accept additions to the stormwater project in the Sweetwater Ranch neighborhood. The increased costs include increasing payment to Shoreline Construction from by $480,000 to a total of $840,000. A second request increased the contract with Blueline Group LLC by $25,000 to $95,000.

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