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Bid awarded to rebuild Depot Park tennis courts

The Park Rapids City Council approved a proposal to scale back the substrate corrections to make a more durable concrete surface affordable.

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Park Rapids City Hall
Park Rapids Enterprise file photo
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The Park Rapids City Council on Jan. 10 awarded a bid for reconstruction of the city-owned tennis courts at Depot Park.

City Engineer Jon Olson with Apex Engineering reported that two options were bid out – one featuring a concrete playing surface, and the other surfaced with bituminous asphalt.

With a project budget of approximately $600,000, the sole bidder on the concrete option was Gladen Construction, Inc. of Laporte, at $735,931. The low bidder for the asphalt option was Anderson Bros. of Brainerd at $398,635, with Racer Construction, Inc. of Osage also bidding $805,135.

The tennis court project, which does not include the adjacent courts owned by the school district, has been an ongoing priority for the Park Rapids Parks and Beautification Board and the Park Rapids Tennis Association (PRTA).

The long, challenging process included two applications for a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Land and Water Conservation (LAWCON) grant, with no award in 2020 and a $250,000 award in 2021; a successful fundraising drive by the PRTA; and a bid opening on June 28, 2022 in which all bids for the PRTA’s preferred post-tensioned concrete design came in well above the project’s budget and were rejected.

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“Sometimes the best option isn’t practical financially,” Olson said.

As he explained, the project was redesigned and put out to bid again in October, with two options – one featuring a concrete playing surface, and the other surfaced with bituminous asphalt.

The case for concrete

Olson noted that the PRTA’s desire was for a more durable design than the current asphalt courts. Acknowledging that the concrete design would exceed the project budget, he recommended awarding the bid to Gladen Construction and scaling back the designed subsurface soil corrections to bring the cost down.

He said that based on the performance of the existing bituminous courts, he felt the concrete courts could safely be built on top of the existing subsurface soils with minimal corrections.

He said he has reviewed this option with Gladen, and Gladen did not have concerns about reducing the subgrade quantities since this wouldn’t affect their unit-price bid.

Also, Olson reported, the city attorney said that as long as the unit prices aren’t changed, the city can legally reduce the scope of the work.

“After that research analysis, it’s our opinion that moving forward with that option, with the scaled-back subgrade correction is in the city’s best interest,” he said.

Olson recommended awarding the bid to Gladen with those changes and estimated a revised project cost of $565,000, well within the budget.

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“That would be finalized once the contract is executed,” he said, adding that it would be a change order.

Asked about the difference in lifespan between the two options, Olson said the asphalt is designed for a 20-year lifespan but, in Park Rapids’ climate and soil conditions, could last 30-40 years.

Meanwhile, the concrete is designed for a 50-year lifespan but, “again, here, upwards of 60-70 (years) is probably not out of the question, especially if you put that protective coating and that surface on it. Certainly a long-range improvement.”

City Administrator Angel Weasner said the construction must be completed by the end of 2023 in order for the LAWCON grant to be disbursed to the city.

“The cost to the city is only approximately $60,000,” said Weasner, “as the parks budget was utilized for two years for this project,” and also due to the PRTA’s successful fundraising.

Mayor Ryan Leckner asked if the tennis association was happy with Olson’s recommendation. Kathy Peterson, a PRTA member who has been a vocal supporter of the improvements throughout the project, said yes.

Council member Liz Stone enthusiastically made the motion to award the bid to Gladen as Olson recommended. The motion passed unanimously.

MORE RELATED COVERAGE:
Department heads gave a report on the past year or two at a city council workshop on Jan. 24.

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at rfish@parkrapidsenterprise.com or 218-252-3053.
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