Citizens criticize award of construction contract
Work has started at the hilltop construction site of the new Plymouth Township Park Pavilion. The pavilion, as planned, will be a 4,500 square foot structure near the baseball fields in the park, at the top of the sledding hill. It will include restrooms, a warming center, a kitchen area with a sink and refrigerator and a snowmaking machine.
Oct. 20, 2014 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
By: Don Howard
New details regarding the Plymouth Township Park pavilion were revealed at the meeting of the township board of trustees last week following the award of the construction contract. Quotations for the initial advertised sealed-bid inquiry were due July 14 and were opened publicly on that date in Township Hall.
The original bid specifications information and accompanying project manual, prepared by Township Clerk Nancy Conzelman, called for a base-project bid and an alternate construction-management bid that would allow the township to purchase certain materials directly for installation by subcontractors.
Construction of the pavilion at Plymouth Township Park will begin this fall after approval of the construction bid to Acme Enterprise Inc. of Roseville, the second-lowest bidder, by a 5-2 vote. The two dissenting trustees, Bob Doroshewitz and Chuck Curmi, and several members of the audience questioned the procedures and accounting utilized in the bidding process.
Township Supervisor Reaume and Treasurer Ron Edwards have argued strongly for approval on both the pavilion and amphitheater projects since they introduced their first plans to build a basic-structure pavilion, estimated to cost about $85,000. The amphitheater initially was not discussed or advertised.
“Recreation amenities enhance our community’s livability,” said Reaume, in his fall letter to the community. The 12- page, four-color publication highlights a new $350,000 amphitheater and all-season pavilion warming station that Doroshewitz said may cost nearly $700,000 when complete.
Township board meeting have attracted hundreds of residents during the past months calling for greater accountability and public input into the use the plans for the amphitheater and pavilion. Many have cited public safety as a priority and suggested trustees concentrate funding in the understaffed fire department which currently does not have a ladder truck and where the 20-year-old fire engines and equipment suffer constant breakdowns.
At the board meeting last week, township resident and activist Chris Hunter criticized the board and what Curmi described as “value engineering” which occurred between members of the board and Acme representatives after the bids were submitted and opened.
“It seems to me we are rewarding someone for poor behavior,” Hunter said. The first bid from Acme was $547,303 and after conversations regarding costs with township officials took place, Acme lowered the cost to $492,573, a savings of $54,550.
Hunter told the board that he was in favor of “value engineering” but that it should take place “before the bids were finalized, not after.” “It seems to me we are rewarding a company that gave us a high bid for an inefficient building. Now they claim the new bid includes better, more efficient materials that will better withstand the weather,” Hunter said. He asked why those materials at the lower cost were not in the original bid.
Doroshewitz said he estimated the true cost of the project was going to be $677,000 despite the assurances from Reaume and Edwards that the bids were complete.
Included in the project are construction costs of $492,753; $150,000 for utility lines to the new building; $24,500 for architectural fees and another $10,000 for furnishings. It’s unclear how the pavilion specifications and purchase instructions were changed from the initial inquiry without revising the engineering drawings or involving the architect-designer firm D.S. Wright. No further details emerged about Conzelman’s alternate construction-management bid requirement.
The pavilion, as planned, will be a 4,500 square foot structure near the baseball fields in the park, at the top of the sledding hill. It will include restrooms, a warming center and a kitchen area with a sink and refrigerator.
Doroshewitz questioned a reference in building plans to a water connection for a snow-making machine.
“When did we decide to put in a snow machine?” he asked.
Edwards defended the proposed snow making device claiming that many winters see little snow and that the sledding hill should be more useable. He estimated that the machines being considered cost $25,000 to $30,000.
Both Doroshewitz and Curmi proposed the hiring of a project manager to oversee the construction and monitor any escalating expenses or changes to the plans. Reaume responded that the project manager would be Building Department Director Mark Lewis.