Heritage Hill Park Construction Delayed: See What Might Get Left Off Playground

A long-awaited park in the city’s Heritage Hill and South Hill neighborhoods is on hold for a bit longer. Grand Rapids City Commission on Tuesday, Oct. 8, rejected contractor bids to build Pleasant Park at the corner of Pleasant Street and Madison Avenue SE.

The city will re-bid the project later this year in hopes of getting lower prices from contractors eager to schedule work for 2014. Instead of a Nov. 15 completion date, work on the park now is targeted to be done by the end of next June.

“We were really optimistic and hopeful that we could get shovels in the ground and built this fall,” said Steve Faber, executive director of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks. “With the bids coming in almost $100,000 over what our estimates were, we just frankly don’t have the money to be able to accept the bid.

“It was sort of a blow to the gut because everybody was hoping to move forward this fall, yet.”

Grand Rapids plans to fund the $731,000 Pleasant Park with a mix of monies: a $300,000 state grant; a $204,000 special assessment; $112,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds; fundraising from public and private sources. The low bid for the project was $669,600 – which, when adding the cost of engineering and construction contingency, exceeds the amount allotted for the park. The consulting engineer’s estimate was $586,753.

The city now will re-bid the project and also seek an alternate bid that takes out some of the planned park amenities such as decorative fencing, masonry columns at the park’s entry and a standalone piece of playground equipment known as a Supernova.

City Engineer Mark DeClercq said staff will look at “what could we engineer out that wouldn’€™t detract from the overall objective of the park, and if the bids come in low next time, we can always add those elements back in.”

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