Park maintenance facility must be built in stages

-A A +A

Lowest bid for building budgeted for $150,000 comes in at $214,000.

By Vicky Gits

A couple of unheated steel shipping containers connected by a makeshift roof will have to serve as the park district’s vehicle repair shop and storage facility for at least one more winter.

Plans to build a new park maintenance facility had to be put on hold last month after the construction costs for the bare-bones plan turned out to be substantially higher than first estimated.

In a regular meeting Aug. 25, the board of directors of the Evergreen Park and Recreation District agreed to build as much of the maintenance facility as possible for $135,000, and the rest of it in 2010 with money from the 2010 budget.

The shop is to be situated behind the administration cottage in Buchanan Park.

The new bids are expected to be available by the Sept. 29 board meeting.

More vision than money

The battle to fund the parks maintenance building reflected the overall theme of Tuesday’s board meeting and, perhaps, the theme of this board’s administration.

That theme would be the disparity between the district’s vision of what it wants to be and the money it is able to generate to pay for it.

By the end of the meeting, President Allan Casey was calling for fellow board members to look at the upcoming 2010 budget process with the idea of deciding how much to set aside every year for new buildings and major repairs, such as remodeling the weight room at Wulf Recreation Center.

“We’d like to establish a target to use with a budget that yields more (funds for capital improvement),” Casey said. “Now is the time we have to make some changes, because it is only going to get worse.

“Unless we arrest these trends, we are saddling future boards with a problem,” Casey said.

Board member Peter Eggers agreed, saying he realized years ago that the district was inadvertently acquiring more property and buildings than it could easily afford to maintain.

“We have a maintenance obligation that is beginning to catch up with us after all these years,” he said. “Allan and I saw this in the ‘90s. The cost of maintaining everything we created keeps going up.”

In May, the repair/storage building was budgeted at $150,000, of which $60,000 was covered by a Jeffco Open Space joint venture grant. The lowest bid came in at $214,000.

“We are going to re-bid to the same companies and ask them to re-engineer and come back with a lower number. We’ll say to whomever is the low bid, if you get this bid, ($135,000) is all the money we have this year,” said district Executive Director John Skeel.

Paring began in May

In May the district board agreed to go forward with a pared-down version of the new maintenance building that would be more storage-oriented than office-oriented in order to save money.

Preliminary designs show a shed-like, 2,000-square-foot stucco building with a metal slanted roof, clerestory windows and a couple of large garage doors to accommodate big vehicles.

The idea of a new, $250,000 park maintenance facility was first mentioned in the 1996 master plan, after Alderfer Barn was deemed unsafe and inappropriate. A new facility was also mentioned in the 2004-2009 master plan.

Since leaving the Alderfer Barn, the department uses the Lake House garage and the machine and wood shops of Alderfer Barn. Staff is forced to complete repairs outdoors behind the administrative offices, even in the winter.

Lake House rest room project

The board approved construction of a new rest room on the grounds of the Lake House, a project that has been in the pipeline for a couple of years. At $95,000, the low bidder was builder John Morrow, who is expected to build a log-like structure in keeping with the Lake House architecture. It will use a vault system and a hand-sanitizing station rather than running water.

Morrow’s specialty is multimillion-dollar log homes.

“We have seen his work. It’s going to look like a miniature Lake House with stone and logs,” Skeel said. “The Porta-Potties by the parking lot will go away, but the other ones around the lake will stay. It will take a huge burden off the Lake House.”

Each portable toilet costs $100 to $150 a month.

In 2007 the project had been awarded to BMS but was delayed by issues on both sides. When the project was re-bid, BMS did not submit a proposal but asked for $5,000 for design services already provided, which the district signed and paid for after consulting with its attorney.

The rest room with four stalls is expected to reduce the cost of having to pay for portable toilets at outdoor events at the lake. There would also be less impact on the Lake House rest rooms from park users during private events.

Wulf Center rest room remodel

The board agreed to spend $20,000 instead of $35,000 on repainting the Alderfer House exterior and use the $15,000 to remodel the two upstairs rest rooms at the Wulf Recreation Center.

The work is to be done simultaneously with the weight-room remodel, which is expected to take nine weeks. Demolition of the old weight room began last week