The expansion of Acreage Community Park is scheduled for significant completion by March 21, 2018, under a new agreement with the builder approved at the Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors meeting last week.
The park’s expansion has been long and complicated over the past 10 years by changes in plans, changes in board members, and by the county, which owns the property and has control over permitting.
Completion of the park is still clouded by questions about county requirements for final approval, which include paving of 140th Avenue North and paving of the parking lot. That could cost more than $2.7 million, which ITID does not have.
Supervisor Betty Argue, who has been coordinating efforts to get the project moving, led the discussion, reported at the Oct. 18 meeting that county permits are well on their way for approval and that the project is moving again.
The major holdup in progress has been approval of permits that include an electrical permit for the project, she said.
“There’s still a lot of moving pieces and things still transpiring today, so that’s why you have a package in front of you today that’s as thick as it is,” Argue said. “The bottom line is that since the last meeting, we received the building permit electrical; and the concession, bathroom and amphitheater have all been resubmitted and they’re adjusting all comments to the county. We expect the permits within the next week or so.”
The revised schedule for the project has been submitted by Rosso Site Development. Argue explained that she had met with ITID Manager John “Woody” Wodraska and representatives of site engineer Craig A. Smith & Associates the previous week to discuss outstanding construction issues. The revised construction schedule and a commitment to complete construction is based on more than a dozen change orders awaiting board review and approval that evening.
Argue said some of the change orders had not been approved after the board decided to bring some of the associated projects in-house in order to save money.
“Craig A. Smith & Associates works with the contractor in order to look at value engineering, which means that they’re basically doing the same thing with perhaps a lesser product in order to get the same quality and result, which saves us money,” she said.
A change order scheduled for approval that evening included a pledge from Rosso to complete the project by March 21.
“It will be substantially completed by Feb. 21, 2018, and the next 30 days will be a punch list where they go through the contract to make sure that everything is complied with,” Argue said.
The change order included a request for a 12-day extension of the contract due to hurricane delays.
“Our original contract was for $3,389,888.54,” she said. “After the change orders have been made, to date we are $107,847.76 below what the original contracted amount was.”
Argue added that it is anticipated that there will be another $100,000, more or less, in other change orders.
“There’s some other issues that may come up with the building permit process,” she said, explaining that some items that may be required by the county are not in the contract, including construction materials for crosswalks. “I think the biggest thing for the board to know is that the electrical contractor got the permit last week but ended up in the hospital, but the surveyor is coming out tomorrow to do the surveying for the old electrical lines, and the electrical contractor is starting his work on Friday. Once he has his work done, Rosso has assured me that they’re going to go in and start doing the rest of the land preparation, and we’re going to really see things start happening. Landscaping is going to start, and buildings are going to be going in.”
Argue asked that the board approve the extension of the schedule, as well as change orders that are above the $20,000 threshold requiring board approval.
Argue also had a letter from engineer Gene Schriner with Craig A. Smith & Associates providing a status update on the project.
“It has been an arduous, sometimes contentious process; however, working through it all, we continued with the park, and we are now closing in on finally securing all necessary permits for the site plan revisions,” Schriner wrote. “This process required many hours of effort… We want to first thank you for your tireless efforts and patience as a board member to bring this through to fruition. There is still much work to be completed, but the end is in sight.”
The letter also stated that the engineering firm has saved $56,807 by trimming costs, and through a subcontractor, a savings of $276,921.18.
Supervisor Gary Dunkley was concerned that the county will not approve the park until 140th Avenue North is paved at a cost of $2.1 million to the district. He asked if the construction requirements for the road could be revised to reduce costs.
“The county put in that provision,” Dunkley said. “140th has to be done.”
ITID Engineer Jay Foy said the high cost is due to the higher county standard, which calls for a 24-foot road (more than the current 20-foot road), and a stabilized shoulder, which does not exist now.
Wodraska said there is currently less than $1.4 million remaining in the park budget.
Supervisor Carol Jacobs said the board could budget money next year for the road, but added that they also still have to complete the parking lot, which was a condition by the county, at a cost of $440,000 to $640,000.
Argue said the contract was awarded six months before she came on the board, and the full scope of it was not considered at the time.
“The issue with respect to the parking lot and with respect to the road needs to be addressed,” she said. “Direction needs to be given to staff regarding that. I think we need to look at what the other options are.”
Argue said the district should go back to the county and explain that ITID was completing only a portion of its original plans for the park.
“The bottom line is that they have done other roads in this district that are county roads that are not to the standards that they’re requiring us to do 140th, and I object to that,” Argue said, requesting that a complete discussion of the road and parking lot be put on the board’s next meeting agenda.
Dunkley said he would prefer that Argue not continue as the sole project leader so that the entire board could participate in the discussions.
“I voted for her to expedite things, and then all of a sudden she’s project manager,” he said. “I want it back here. Let staff control it.”
Argue made motions to approve outstanding change orders in the contract including the time extension to March 21 and $24,000 for additional drainage for the amphitheater, which carried 4-0 with Dunkley away from the dais.