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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Latest Proposals Opened For Soccer Complex

Fairhope, Alabama. (fairhopetimes@att.net)

CITY'S MANLEY ROAD PROPERTY

On April 7th, sealed bids for a pared-down design for a  nine-field soccer complex on Hwy 13 were publicly opened by representatives from Preble-Rish Engineering hired by the city last year as project engineer.

Bids are required to be opened in a public forum for transparency/accountability purposes.

The original ten-field design proved to be too costly; $2 million was budgeted but only one sealed bid was received last August. ($5.4 million).

Additional fields are needed for championships and tournaments (to promote "sports tourism") -- and for increasing needs of local schools/children.

The land was purchased for $890K back in 2009.

 The cities of Daphne, Gulf Shores, Foley and Mobile are building or planning similar complexes.

(Publisher's Note: The bids do not currently include costs for 'amenities' like restrooms, bleachers, locker rooms, concession stands, and field equipment.  City utility employees are to do electrical and plumbing work, to reduce cost.) 

City Purchasing Manager Dan Ames, Sherry Sullivan and Tom Kuhl from the city's recreation department were also present -- as were Recreation Committee members Bob Keyser and charlie Langham.


LOWEST BIDDER RESPONSES

By state law, the city council must accept the lowest "responsive, responsible" bidder.

The city asked for four separate proposals: for grading/drainage; fencing (coated chain-link);
grass/irrigation; and base/paving.

1) Grading and drainage low bidder was S.A. Graham: $869,675*.  Second-lowest was Summit Industries for $936,861. (Asphalt Services was third at $999,099: there were nine qualified bidders in total)

new plan
(*There was an irregularity with low bidder S.A. Grahm's paperwork: a space for the total cost was left blank; but that was deemed only a minor issue under state bid law -- since the amounts were listed elsewhere on the form.  Also, city councilman Kevin Boone was employed by one of the bidders at one time (Summit Industries); there is nothing prohibiting the company from participating in the bidding if appropriate procedures are followed, according to state law. The Times has not yet been able to determine if Boone is still a Summit employee.)


2) Fencing low bidder was Gulf Coast Fence for $73,401. Second-lowest Capital Fence for $77,840.

3) Grass/Irrigation was Hemphill Environmental for $895,517. Second was Gulf Breeze Landscaping for $1,024,470.

4) Base and Paving was Summit Industries for $581,973. Second was Asphalt Services for $601,900.


SLIGHTLY UNDER BUDGET


The total of the individual cost-estimates (assuming all low bids are accepted) came to about  $2.4 million: under the $2.5 million predicted by the mayor last Fall.

It was previously decided that the city's electric department will install field lightning, costing about $1 million according to Mayor Kant, leaving the entire project cost so-far under the $3.5 million budgeted.

Room is left in the plan for future expansion, according to the mayor.

(Not included in any cost estimates so far are 'amenities' like restrooms, bleachers, concession stands, field equipment, etc: the Mobile/Fairhope Soccer Club has indicated willingness to help raise funds for these.) 

The city's Purchasing Department and Preble Risch will review each bid to ensure compliance with administrative and engineering bid specifications , then make a recommendation to the city council per applicable state bid laws.

Recreation Board members Keyser and Langham indicated  they were pleased with the outcome.


CITY COUNCIL TO DECIDE WHAT'S NEXT

The  city council is scheduled to receive recommendations and discuss the bids at Monday's regular 4:30PM work session; it is not yet certain if a final vote for approval will be taken at the following regular meeting. 




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