Archive for Wednesday, November 21, 2007

City to try to steer park work to locals

November 21, 2007

If all goes well, local contractors could start clearing brush next month for the city of De Soto's new river front park in the West Bottoms.

The De Soto City Council last Thursday approved a $63,800 contract with Doug Pickert's Indigo Design to complete the design of the new park. Picket, a landscape architect who was once chairman of the De Soto Parks and Recreation Commission, was selected last spring to create a concept of the park. The council has agreed to spend $676,000 to construct the park's first phase.

With actual plans, the city can award contracts for the park's construction off 71st Street in De Soto's West Bottoms, City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle said.

Construction of the park would be a two-step bid process, with the first bid awarded to clear brush and to do the needed grading, Guilfoyle said. The second bid would be for the construction of the sidewalks, streets structures and utility installation in the park's first phase, he said.

Among the features of the first phase is to have a festival ground with double sidewalks for vender booths, an oval driveway with space inside for a carnival and a stage place in a natural amphitheater.

At the suggestion of the Councilman Ted Morse, it was agreed to give local contractors who donated time and material for the boat ramp at the park site first chance to win the contracts for the park's construction. Councilwoman Betty Cannon, who led the effort to secure volunteer help for the boat ramp, estimated local contractors donated $140,000 in constructing the boat ramp.

Rather than seek bids, city engineer Mike Brungardt will share the completed specifications with contractors invited to participate, the council agreed. Should local contractors offer competitive bids, they would be awarded the contract.

City Attorney Patrick Reavey cautioned there could be one possible roadblock to that plan because the city was issuing bonds to pay for the project. He said he would check with the city's bond attorney to ensure that a sealed bid process wasn't necessary because of the bond financing.

Guilfoyle said the work on the park would start in December if the local bid process was used.

The council also approved a deal that cleared up one possible glitch in the park's development. Reavey said a title search indicated the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad appeared to own four or five acres in the eastern part of the future park near the city's current brush pile. When notified of a city request they deed the property over to the city, the railroad agreed to do so if the council would permanently close the road over its tracks on Gardner Road north of 83rd Street, which has been barricaded from general use at the BNSF's request for several years.

The city council hopes to secure another $60,000 for the park's development from a grant source dedicated to developing recreation sites from closed sand pit mining plants. The Johnson County Commission must approve the request, which has the endorsement of the Johnson County Parks and Recreation District Board of Directors. The county commission has yet to place the request on its agenda.

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