Parks Board Questions Higher Cost of Mississippi River Park Project – Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — Project leaders want more money for Brainerd’s Mississippi Landing Trailhead Park project, but city officials are reluctant to loosen the purse strings.

Parks Board members filed suit following a BMS request for an additional $58,000 for items related to construction observation, building materials testing and project management for the new Park.

Taking shape along the Mississippi River on East River Road, the park is expected to include green spaces, trails, river access, an amphitheater and an outdoor classroom. WSB received the planning and design for the project in 2021, after Short Elliott Hendrickson completed a preliminary design plan with general layout. Custom Builders Inc. was awarded the construction contract for the project in the amount of $2,373,647.97, more than 15% less than the engineer’s estimate. However, throughout the design process, which WSB then went through with the Parks Board, some of the park’s features evolved and became more complex, WSB senior project manager Matt Indihar told the Parks Board. parks on Tuesday, August 23.

“One of the hardest things to do is bid on the construction costs of a concept, and that’s what we were asked to do in the RFP for this project,” he said. he stated about the RFP. “So as things got more complex, it increased the number of construction tasks that we were going to do on the ground and some of the examination of the finer finishes and details that we have to do to examine submissions of these higher levels park features.

Indihar outlined the rationales for the additional funds in a memo to the Parks Board.

The original schedule for the project was 13 weeks, during which the project managers estimated that they would be on site 20 hours per week inspecting the project. Although these inspection tasks took less than the weekly allotment, the project is in week 10 but only 20% complete due to weather and supply chain issues on the contractor side, indicates the memo.

Several changes required BMS staff to perform more inspections and material testing, including a structural change to the toilets due to supply chain issues; expansion of the amphitheater and learning center; and more colored concrete for the boardwalk, which will also take the contractor longer to pour.

There have been several issues with the colored concrete that has been delivered so far, as almost half of the air tests on the first truck in a pour came back with failed air content values, which means that workers had to take several air tests during each pour to verify that sufficient adjustments were made to all subsequent loads. Air content is measured in concrete to determine its durability when exposed to freeze-thaw cycles.

Design changes also involve additional reviews of submissions by the WSB. The bid review process essentially provides checks and balances during construction to ensure that the end result conforms to the design submitted.

Surveyors have also had to visit the site more often due to the added complexity of features to stake out points from which contractors can work and because there is not enough space on the site for contractors work around the pickets. The WSB originally scheduled a survey crew at $207 an hour for 10 site visits, but so far surveyors have averaged one visit every two weeks and have up to six visits, the most of the work on sidewalks and roads still to be completed.

With the additional labor and costs, Indihar requested an additional $30,000 for construction observation, $10,000 for building materials testing, and $18,000 for project management.

Earlier at Tuesday’s meeting, City Engineer Jessie Dehn told the board that the project was still about half a million dollars under budget in terms of the Commission’s grant to the city. Minnesota Citizen Resource Legislative to cover part of the project. That total, he said, comes after half a dozen change orders, which is typical for construction projects.

After asking Indihar if he considered the WSB an expert in the field of construction – to which Indihar said yes – board chairman Kevin Yeager asked why the board had just been told about the additional funds needed now when these issues and changes should have been evident during the tender process.

While acknowledging that the changes to the sanitary facilities came after the tender process, Yeager said there was a change order for that part of the project, so additional costs could have been incurred. the low.

“What feels bad here is that all of this comes after…we’ve already made the purchase. We are already well advanced,” Yeager said. “…I had no idea this was going to happen. That’s what I don’t like about it.

Indihar said there were additional steps to take to acquire planning permission for the toilet structure, and he did not realize how much work it would be until he started. the process with the contractor.

Another problem, he said, is that the concrete was not poured as quickly as originally planned, necessitating more site visits and testing.

When Yeager asked why taxpayers should bear this burden when it appears to be an issue with one of WSB’s subcontractors, Indihar said those pouring the concrete are not his subcontractors. WSB was hired to observe and review the work of the contractor and ensure that it adhered to the plan.

“I have no control over their scope, means or methods,” Indihar said. “I can help them, try to push them to get the city to make sure the contract is done and done on time, but I don’t control their operations.”

Dehn told the board that some of those concerns actually surfaced after the project was tendered. WSB, he said, could not have anticipated things like the contractor taking longer than expected to pour the concrete.

Additional days on site and additional testing, he added, will cost more.

Dehn also admitted that some of the additional costs should have been recognized a little earlier and might have been small enough to be absorbed in the budget, which Indihar confirmed.

He was not fully aware of how the contractor would operate, he said, and thought some of the additional costs could be absorbed.

Yeager asked if the WSB could take advantage of the extra money requested or if the project managers were just trying to cover their costs, to which Indihar said he was just trying to cover the costs he had incurred.

Mayor Dave Badeaux, who is the city council’s liaison to the parks board, said one of his biggest concerns is that the requested increase is more than double the original money for the three elements. The initial cost proposed for construction observation, construction material testing and project management was $51,880 but increased to $109,880 at Indihar’s request.

“I don’t mean to be rude, but that’s what you do. And we don’t do that work ourselves,” Badeaux said. “…We, as taxpayer representatives, rely on experts to do this work. And nothing in this meeting here tells me that I should have confidence in the direction of things.

Indihar asked Badeaux if he thought the WSB had made a proper observation of the project or had done more than was appropriate, to which Badeaux replied that he thought there was a miscommunication, as these changes should have been mentioned earlier.

Indihar said one thing that probably didn’t help the communication was that WSB had lost its senior project manager for the park just when the bidding was on, so he and others had to put themselves on the line. aware, meaning some conversations didn’t happen when they should. have been.

The Parks Board eventually agreed to file the request for additional BMS funds through September and requested breakdowns for each of the three categories to see the exact costs associated with the additional work.

The next Parks Board meeting will be on September 27.

THERESA BOURKE can be reached at [email protected] or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at

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