Playground work begins despite snafu with contract

Officials find new surface installer after low bidder leaves Port in the lurch
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

Possibility Playground in Port Washington’s Upper Lake Park closed Wednesday and isn’t expected to reopen until sometime in October.

City crews began removing the surface of the playground, the first step in a reconstruction project that will change the face of the popular play area for children of all abilities.

But the process hasn’t been easy. The company that was awarded the bid for resurfacing the playground withdrew its bid just about a week before work was to begin, City Administrator Mark Grams said.

“There were a lot of reasons, but in the end he couldn’t do it,” Grams said of the contractor.

The company, Reese Recreation, subcontracted the work and because of that couldn’t provide the needed insurance or performance bond, Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said.

“I’ve never had that happen before,” Vanden Noven said. “I was pretty upset at first.”

The city then negotiated with the second highest bidder for the contract, Bluemmel, who installed the playground surface when it was built 11 years ago, he said.

Bluemmel agreed to lower its original bid of $227,300 to $197,000 if the city would remove the surface, Grams said. The cost of hauling away the original surface is about $10,000, bringing the total project cost to $207,000 — $7,000 more than the city had budgeted for the work.

But, Grams said, the city’s bid documents may have overestimated the amount of surface on the playground, which would bring down that cost.

The Possibility Playground committee has also agreed to cover any gap in funding, Vanden Noven said.

“A lot of people are eager to see the work done,” Vanden Noven said. “The Friends of Possibility Playground saw it as a project that couldn’t be put on hold.”

Because of that, the Common Council is expected to formally reject Reese’s bid when it meets Tuesday, Sept. 17, and award the contract to Bluemmel.

 

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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