Park improvements being readied for new bidding

Rendering provided
Proposed improvements for the Dubois County Park include 14 RV campsites, trail improvements and a restroom building/information center.

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

New bids for the first phase of improvements at Dubois County Park will likely be opened in early December.

The work to be done is pretty much the same. But how it will be paid for has changed some.

The architect for the project, Dan Engelbrecht of Hafer Design, talked to the Dubois County Park Board Tuesday morning about ideas for making sure the first phase of the work is covered by the available funding.

The project, which is a part of the county’s multiple-year master plan for park improvements, includes 14 RV campsites, trail improvements and a restroom building/information center. The park board put the project out for bids earlier this year and had available $500,000: $250,000 from its coffers and 250,000 in the form of a state Land and Water Conservation grant.

One bid was received in June, and that totaled about $1.1 million, which was twice as much as expected and two times more than what the park board had available.

The board requested, and was approved for additional $350,000 that will come from Dubois County’s American Rescue Plan funding the county has received from the federal government.

Engelbrecht wanted to make sure that the project is packaged in such a way that what needs to be covered with state grant funding is covered, and what needs to be covered with federal funds is covered. He also wanted to make sure that the county has many bidders for the project. So he recommended that the bids not be opened on a Monday, because contractors have told him of the difficulty to submit a bid for a Monday opening.

There was a question about using ARPA money and whether the project was a response to the public’s needs stemming from the virus, since the project was being planned prior to the virus. Park board President Christine Prior said that having these additional outdoor options does help with people’s health, including mental health.

“We shouldn’t be penalized because we recognized the importance of mental health beforehand,” she said.

For future project phases, the park board is seeking donations from the public. Some people have already reached out, Prior said. She is looking into establishing a fund for donations. Those interested in donating or who would like more information should contact Prior at christine.prior@yahoo.com.

The board also:

• Heard that the survey concerning local park and recreation facilities will close Friday. County residents are encouraged to fill out the survey online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/duboiscoparks. The information will be utilized for updating the five-year master plan for parks throughout the county. Responses to the 11-question survey are anonymous.

• Heard from Prior that the board must wait until their next meeting to approve previous meeting minutes, since there was not a quorum of members present Tuesday.




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