By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
Recently the Washington City Council agreed to re-examine the project approach of the Wellness Park after lease-purchase agreement bids came in well above the $700,000 amount that was set for the bids.
According to Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson, the council will discuss abandoning the lease-purchase process and move forward with a competitive bid process. He said the city would include an item in the plans that would solicit for in-kind contributions from contractors for the project. He said the bid form would include a deduct line-item for the contractor?s proposed in-kind donation. The adjusted total would be considered to determine the lowest responsible bidder.
?We met with the engineer via conference call twice this week and it appears they are not at all confident that the project scope could be revised down to keep it comfortably below the threshold,? Hinson said. ?Therefore we are proposing that we abandon the lease-purchase process and instead proceed with the normal competitive bid process.?
The council will vote on two resolutions at a special meeting at 6 p.m. today that would abandon the lease-purchase process and one that would authorize a notice of hearing and letting.
Hinson said he did not believe the city would need a long time to bid the project and for schedule reasons it would be good to move quickly.
He is recommending that bids be due April 12 and the hearing on the bid aaward be held April 17. He also said that a second project would be done later to complete what is known as ?phase one? of the project. He said it is possible to start that phase of the project this fall, but believed that it is more likely the phase would be done in the spring of 2019.
The Wellness Park is being constructed on 46 acres along Fifth Street and North D Avenue.
In December 2016, the council had indicated it wanted to move ahead with the project and leave $1 million in this year?s budget to be spent on the park.
The city sold about 5 acres of land on the proposed Wellness Park to the Y to be used for the construction of a new building.
After the failure of a bond referendum to help fund the building, the YMCA announced in May it plans to collect funding for a new $9 million facility to be constructed at West Fifth Street and North D Avenue as well as future expansions.
The Washington City Council also approved partnering with the YMCA of Washington County to seek a mutual grant from Enhance Iowa to benefit both the Y?s building project and the construction of the proposed Wellness Park.