North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Planned Haller Park splash pad will be delayed

 

Courtesy Image

A design concept for what the Haller Park splash pad could look like once finished.

The Haller Park splash pad project has been delayed after the bidding process came back with only a single bid that was about $500,000 over budget.

The city had the project at a budget of $775,500, but the only bid received was for $1.3 million.

The splash pad project has been put out to bid for a second time with a looser timeline requirement, said Kristin Banfield, communications manager with the city of Arlington.

She said that the city will be gathering bids for the next couple of weeks.

"We are just as disappointed as everyone else that we had to delay this, but it really is the most responsible thing to do, especially given the amount of dollars we have for the splash pad and all the amenities," said Banfield.

The new bid has not been scaled back in any way and the only difference has been more flexibility in the construction schedule, said Banfield.

"We have expanded the contract timelines. Loosened those timelines up," she said. "So now the project has to be completed by March 31 of 2019."

"This is the same project and same plan. It hasn't been scaled down at all. What we did is re-bid it with the extended construction window," she said.

City officials talked with some of the contractors, who told the city that there were too many other construction projects they were completing.

"That's what we heard from a couple of contractors," said Banfield. "They said 'sorry we couldn't bid, we just had too much other business."

Banfield said it's "pretty unusual" to get only a single bid that is this much over budget on a project, especially since the recession when times were slow for contractors.

"When there were lots of hungry contractors a couple of years ago, there were also very few projects out there," she said.

In recent years construction has been picking up though, said Banfield.

"We knew that contractors are definitely busy and adding staff, but we still weren't anticipating we would only get one bid that would be one-half million dollars over the budget," she said.

In addition to staff, the contractors are also having problems acquiring enough bonding. Contractor license bonds are meant to be collateral that can be acquired if the contractor breaks the law or their contract during the construction.

"Right now they can't get enough bonding to be able to promise that they can get these projects complete," said Banfield.

City officials are optimistic that the new bid currently out with an easier timeline for contractors will bring in better bids for the splash pad.

"That gives an opportunity for contractors who right now may not have the capacity to do the project under the tighter timeline," said Banfield.

If the city does receive more bids, they hope to be finished in the spring of 2019, "just in time for the summer season," said Banfield.

Banfield wanted to emphasize that the funds for the splash pad are still in safekeeping and cannot be used for any other project.

"These funds are restricted for this specific project. They haven't gone anywhere and they're still being held in the correct accounts," she said.

 

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