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Engineer negotiates price for scaled-back park project

Revised Phase 1 of Deer Ridge Park now expected to cost city just $47,000

Published: Saturday, June 22, 2013 4:58 a.m. CDT

The city is working to renegotiate project costs to begin constructing a park in Deer Ridge subdivision this summer.

At Monday’s meeting, the Morris City Council took no action on the original bids that came in on the park because the project costs were much higher than expected. Original bids from the lowest contractor came in at about $94,000 for equipment and site work. The city was expecting $45,000 to $50,000.

City Engineer Guy Christensen of Chamlin and Associates met with the Park and Annexation Committee Friday and told the committee he was able to work with a low bidder to get the project costs reduced.

With adjustments, a new bid of about $47,000 will likely go before the council Monday, July 1. In November 2011, Deer Ridge subdivision developers came before the committee requesting a park be developed on the land it dedicated to the city when the subdivision was originally platted.

The subdivision, located off of U.S. 6 and Ashton Road, now has about 75 families living in it and has about 175 empty lots. There is currently not a park within walking or riding distance for kids or families.

The Morris Lions Club has donated $10,000 to go toward the park.

The bids were for the first phase of the park. To lower the cost, Christensen had the contractor eliminate some of the earth excavation work and seeding for a portion of the property that can be done in a later phase. The city’s Public Works Department will also take on some of the site work to reduce the work for which the city was going to pay the contractor.

In addition, the committee decided to wait on putting up a chainlink backstop fence for the future baseball field. The field will be done in the second phase, so the city decided to do the backstop then as well.

Alderman Julian Houston said he felt the backstop could wait because otherwise the backstop would encourage children to play ball in the area, which will not be leveled yet.

And lastly it decided against two more-expensive pieces of park equipment and replaced those pieces with three cheaper items. The park will have about seven equipment items.

All together, these changes cut the price projections in half.

The tentative layout the committee worked on for the park after all its phases includes a baseball field, soccer field, walking path, shelter, a space for a future adult fitness area, and multiple sets of play equipment such as swings and tubes, as well as tables and benches.

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