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Change orders push park upgrade costs toward city’s $4.5M max
Parks on MLK Drive and Grady St. closed awaiting completion, hoped for mid-July
Construction continues on the improvements at Luetta Moore Park on Monday, May 24. Change orders and additions have pushed the total cost of renovations of the park and Rev. W.D. Kent Park closer to the $4.5 million total the city of Statesboro borrowed for both projects.

Change orders and additions have pushed the total cost of the Luetta Moore Park and Rev. W.D. Kent Park renovations closer to the $4.5 million total the city of Statesboro borrowed for both projects.

The city received that amount in March from Truist Bank at a 1.47% annual interest rate on a 10-year bond, officially issued through Statesboro’s new Urban Redevelopment Agency.

Initial park construction, administration and playground equipment contracts added up to $3.41 million. But the city staff included a $600,000 contingency for unexpected expenses, making the total cost projection over $4 million, and City Manager Charles Penny told the mayor and council members the project would probably require almost all of the $4.5 million.

Last week, when the council approved the latest of two recent large change-order packages, he reported that his prediction is coming true.

“Of the $4.5 million that we borrowed to do both of these parks, the balance is quickly declining,” Penny said. “We have now right about $300,000 left. We have another change order that’s probably going to come to you, hopefully at the next meeting, for video security.”


Second batch

The additional change orders approved by City Council that evening, May 18, included seven additional expenditures, totaling $107,136, with John E. Lavender & Associates, general contractor on both projects.

The most expensive single item, at $58,556, was the replacement of the ballfield fence at the Zadie Lundy Douglas Little League Field at Luetta Moore Park with a new six-foot-tall, black vinyl-coated fence, plus posts for foul ball netting. Another relatively large item was a new concrete block and brick enclosure for dumpsters, costing $19,151. Because of changes for parking access at Lundy Field, the contractors are also installing a new curb cut and driveway for the residence at 560 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, for $10,340.


Irrigation and fences

Back on April 20, the council approved six other change orders, also with Lavender & Associates, totaling $349,809 for the generally more costly items, the most expensive being landscaping, irrigation and fencing.

The irrigation systems and landscaping at both parks cost $145,521 not in the original bid. At the Rev. Kent Park on Grady Street, a total of 864 feet of 4-foot-tall perimeter fencing, with two 30-foot double swing gates, is costing $128,814 to buy and install.

Replacing the current fence around the Luetta Moore Park basketball court with 460 feet of 6-foot-tall black vinyl-coated chain link was priced at $21,874; resurfacing the courts with a new color scheme, $21,740. New backboards, goals and nets there cost $5,746, with the existing poles cleaned and reused. At Grady Street, replacing six basketball goals cost $8,603.

An automatic liquid chemical system with four pumps, to be added to the newly installed pool at Luetta Moore Park, cost $26,113.

Adding these up shows that change orders have raised the combined cost of construction and equipment at both parks to almost $3.87 million.

That does not include the video security order Penny said is likely to be presented at the next meeting, which will be 9 a.m. June 1.

“Then we just need to be careful, because with these being rehab projects we’re always going to run into things we didn’t expect,” he said. “We ran into some things down at Grady Street … and so we just want to make sure we can get through and not exceed four and a half million dollars.”


Mid-July target

When Statesboro and Bulloch County officials broke ground with the builders March 16, Mayor Jonathan McCollar said he hoped to see the upgrades completed by mid-July, or at least before the new school year starts in early August.

Mid-July remains the projected completion date, he said Monday.

“That hasn’t changed,” McCollar said. “The only thing that could affect us now is if we have a lot of rain. The group that we’re working with, when we have good weather weeks they’re working six days a week.”

Managed by the Statesboro-Bulloch County Parks and Recreation Department, which receives its operating funds from the county and from fees for certain activities, these two parks are on city real estate.

The city earmarked $1.1 million over five years from its share of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenue, and the Bulloch County commissioners also committed $1 million from the county’s share of SPLOST  to these park upgrades. But the city will need further SPLOST funding, which would have to be approved by voters as part of a future referendum, or other funding to completely repay the loan.


Original bids

City Council in March awarded the construction contract for the park improvements to Lavender & Associates, which is based in Statesboro, on its bid of $2,877,954. The council also agreed to pay Wood Environment and Infrastructure Solutions, which designed the park renovations, up to $33,560 to administer the construction.

That brought the running total to $2,911,514. Then the playground equipment for both parks was purchased from GameTime for $499,684 on a separate bid, which included the installation work.

That brought the cost to $3.41 million, before the change orders and not counting the $600,000 contingency.

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