Due to High Bids, Muskegon Heights Trims Future Phase of Mona Lake Park Development

Andrew Trzaska | August 27, 2012

Plans for a future stage of Mona Lake Park development are likely to be reduced, as bids put out by the City of Muskegon Heights have repeatedly come back over the amount of grant money available.

The Mona Lake Park will be in three stages, the first stage of which is complete at this time and the second of which will begin work soon. Part of the money for the stage in question comes from Muskegon Heights’ Cities of Promise grant.

The bids were posted and returned three times now, and in the most recent round the lowest bid, Buck Construction, came in $454,000 over available funds, based on what was requested in the bid.

To meet the grant amount, the architects and a committee that included Mona Lake Watershed Council president Brenda Moore worked to trim the development plans to get to the right dollar amount. Moore spoke at Monday’s City Council service meeting on what has been kept and what was cut from the new to-do list:

  • All planned recreational fields and courts will remain, including baseball, soccer and basketball.  With recreation being the core of the grant’s purpose, cutting these wasn’t much of an option or a desire: “We would have to explain to the state why we are diminishing the recreational value of the park,” said Moore.
  • Furthermore, irrigation will not be cut for these fields because the grant requires the fields to be maintained, including irrigation where needed.
  • An added restroom and concession stand, complete with an extra set of water fountains and a required sewer line, will be cut at a savings of $236,000.
  • Bleachers surrounding the baseball and soccer fields will be cut, a savings of tens of thousands of dollars.
  • Stamp-died concrete will be reduced to normal poured concrete. According to Moore, stamp-died concrete costs more but only provides aesthetic benefits.  “It doesn’t inhibit the function of the park if you don’t use that kind,” stated Moore.
  • Existing parking will remain, but only 50% of the new planned parking expansions will be added.
  • A wood chip path will be removed from the new plans. Concerns originally surrounded this path’s compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The above line items represent $335,000 in savings. This will give the city a $49,000 contingency for unforeseen costs.

“If we come in under [budget], maybe we can get those bleachers back,” said Moore.

The Muskegon Heights City Council approved a resolution to send this edited site plan to the state for review. If approved, construction will proceed in 2013, with Buck as the planned contractor.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst