Park project hits $739,000 in costThe Lakefront Park improvement project is nearly completed after two years of on-again, off-again work. What city officials in 2005 budgeted as a $350,000 project has grown to be twice that expensive.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
The Lakefront Park improvement project is nearly completed after two years of on-again, off-again work.
What city officials in 2005 budgeted as a $350,000 project has grown to be twice that expensive.
City Finance Officer Betty Caruso said last week that she expects the final cost to be around $739,000 when all the bills are in.
Eight picnic tables, 12 benches and 10 trash receptacles still need to be installed, but the work is otherwise nearly completed. Some erosion repair will be required, too, because of rain that fell on bare, newly seeded topsoil.
The cost of the project rose, in part, because of mismanagement, but also because the scope of it grew over time.
The project was initially proposed as a simple floodwall and pathway running parallel to the St. Croix River for about 750 feet south from the dike road to near the boat launch. It grew to involve planting trees and installing streetlamps, more benches and picnics tables, as well as an irrigation system.
The finished product also will have more pathway and stairways than were part of the original plan.
Mayor Dean Knudson has referred to Lakefront Park as the jewel of Hudson and said he wanted to improve it for the enjoyment of both residents and visitors to the city.
There’s no arguing that the park along the St. Croix River is a beautiful place — and the planting of 48 shade and ornamental trees that was part of the project promises to make it even more pleasing.
An original goal of the project was to lessen the flooding of the southern portion of the park that often occurs in the spring.
City officials believed that building a floodwall would prevent much of the flooding and allow the establishment of a grassy turf in the area that often flooded.
WW Grading was awarded the original contract to build the wall for $169,310.
The company started the work in late 2006, but was unable to finish it before winter set in.
In the spring of 2007, WW Grading was pulled off the project after city officials discovered that some of the floodwall that the company had built had settled.
It eventually came out that the city had proceeded with the project without having it designed by a professional engineer.
Former Public Works and Parks Director Jim Eulberg resigned at about the same time. It is believed that problems with the floodwall had something to do with his resignation.
The city ultimately paid WW Grading $135,228 for the floodwall materials it provided and the work the company completed.
The City Council then had the city’s consulting engineering firm, Bonestroo, draw up a new project plan and advertised for a different construction company to complete the work.
Pember Companies of Menomonie was awarded a $257,390 base contract to repair and complete the project in September 2007. Pember restarted the project, now with two lower floodwalls, the following month.
Earlier this year, the council approved a $142,796 Phase III of the project. The additional work involved planting more trees, putting in an underground irrigation system and adding picnic tables, benches and trash receptacles.
The engineering fees for the entire project are expected to total about $139,000.