Grand Lake OKs $1.65M streetscape contract
Facing the prospect of not being able do anything for a very long time, the Grand Lake Board of Trustees moved forward with an imperfect streetscape plan on Monday.
Phase three of the streetscape plan includes extensive work along Park Avenue for a project that’s billed as one of the most transformative — and expensive — in town history.
The work calls for installing drainage infrastructure from Vine Street to Hancock Street, adding curb and formal parking along that stretch, repaving the road, some landscaping and landscaping infrastructure, building a pedestrian walkway along the south side of the road, and new drainage and repaving for the parking lot between Pitkin and Hancock Streets.
Ultimately, the board voted 6-1 to allow town staff to enter a contract with United Companies for up to $1.65 million, the lowest bid Grand Lake received after putting the project up for proposals.
The next closest bid came in at $2.3 million from American Civil Constructors, which Town Manager John Crone told the board was well out of Grand Lake’s price range. Timing and price were two driving forces behind Monday’s contract approval.
Town staff and board members all agreed they would prefer the designs come with diagonal parking instead of straight in parking, but the plan will serve the town’s needs and redoing them at this point would push the project into next year at the earliest, Crone explained.
Additionally, there are cost savings with the low bid that won’t likely be available next summer. Considering the second lowest bid was so far out of Grand Lake’s price range, there is no guarantee the town would get another affordable bid if Grand Lake waits to act, Crone said.
The town has also secured about $700,000 in grant funding from the Department of Local Affairs that’s pushing on the project. The grant money sunsets after next year, meaning that if Grand Lake can’t secure a bid to start work by that time, the town would forfeit $700,000 for the project.
With that money gone, Crone told the board there’s no telling when Grand Lake might be able to revisit the streetscape project again. He added that Grand Lake could look to redo some of the perceived design flaws when the town needs to repave the road in the coming years.
The decision wasn’t unanimous with Trustee Cindy Southway worried about the town’s ability to cover costs if the project runs over budget, and she voted against approving the contract.
“The plans are very good plans and they will serve our needs,” Crone said.
In other business:
• The board approved a $10,000 donation to the Grand County Small Business Assistance Fund administered by the Grand Foundation. The board expressed concerns about the town’s finances following Grand Lake’s $25,000 contribution on April 6 but agreed that supporting local businesses right now is critical. Mayor Steve Kudron recused himself from the discussion because his business has received aid through the fund.
• The board formally created the office of financial trustee and appointed Southway, who’s been serving in that role, to the job. By codifying the position, it ensures future boards will have to appoint someone into the role or change town code. Before the vote, Southway said understanding town finances is one of the board’s most important functions.
• With board consent, Mayor Kudron created an executive committee consisting of the mayor, mayor pro tem, financial officer and town manager to help ensure a good connection between the board and town staff when crafting meeting agendas.
• The board granted a waiver so the town clerk’s son can fill a seasonal position at Headwaters Marina. Town rules prohibit the direct hiring of a town employee’s family into full-time jobs. The board granted the waiver on a few considerations, including the seasonal nature of the position, there would be no direct oversight by the clerk, and there have been a limited number of potential marina employees with the J1 visa program suspended.
• The board took care of a housekeeping item regarding who can sign town issued checks following the April election ushering in a new mayor. Town policy requires two signers on all checks, and town policy sets who’s allowed to sign them.
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