ARLINGTON – When the construction industry has an over abundance of pricier large private and public works projects to keep it occupied, that can have a trickle-down effect on some of the smaller but most-essential of facilities – like public restrooms.
That was evident Monday when the Arlington City Council rejected all bids for the Haller Park restroom and activity shelter project.
Bids submitted by Jensen Lee Construction Co., Coast Construction and Axthelm Construction were significantly over the city’s project budget of $284,623, ranging from $128,813 to $274,311 more. The project also included $30,693 for in-house costs.
This isn’t the first time the city has rejected a bid on the same project.
The restroom project originally went to bid last March, but received only one response from Reese Trucking and Excavating for $499,250, almost double what was budgeted. The council in April rejected the offer with plans to re-bid in September.
Funding for the project included a $158,473 county Community Development Block Grant, and $50,000 each from Snohomish County Parks and the city. The funds were to be used to build a 1,296-square-foot single-story wood-framed building and covered community activity shelter. Block grant funds need to be spent by March 2017.
In July, Snohomish County Parks told the city that their agreement would not be extended to accommodate the later project date, and the $50,000 city match would also not be available, said Marc Hayes, Community and Economic Development manager.
That led city officials to go back to the drawing board and look at more-creative, and less-costly options to install the restrooms as part of a more-extensive park makeover.
It looks like they found a scaled-down solution to keep the city within budget.
The council approved the purchase of a “Denali” style precast concrete building from CXT Concrete Building. The facility will include six “family style” gender neutral, Americans with Disabilities Act restrooms for $196,546, which meets criteria for the block grant.
Spokane-based CXT Concrete Buildings manufactures precast concrete buildings that are equipped with plumbing fixtures, electrical and lighting, with heat installed, ready to be placed on the owner’s level pad with only completing connection to utilities to be operational. Since the company is under a state contract, the project does not have to be bid.
The restrooms are pre-programmable, self-locking, Hayes said. He also called it a better choice with regards to longevity, maintenance and materials more resistant to vandalism. Sidewalk installation and electrical connections are $10,000.
“The design is pretty ingenious,” Hayes said. “The roof and structure are all concrete, with the concrete exterior dyed the way the city wants it done.”
The building will also include a concession area to be paid for with local funds, while the community activity shelter would be put on hold until additional funds become available.
However, the total still exceeds the grant total by $48,079, which the city would have to pony up either out of city coffers, a one-time block grant contingency of $38,463, or a combination.
City officials are pinning hopes on receiving block grant contingency funds, otherwise it could put the project in limbo. Without them, Hayes said, the city would face postponing the project, forfeiting the block grant funds, and reapplying in a later grant cycle.
“The option presented within the request for contingency funds is truly Arlington’s last available chance to install restrooms at Haller Park until other funding sources are identified sometime in the future,” Hayes said.
The riverfront park is east of Highway 9 at 1100 West Ave. The park has year-round restrooms, play equipment, picnic shelter, tables, horseshoe courts and a rebuilt boat launch.
The Arlington Rotary Club raised funds at last year’s Duck Dash to go toward building a Splash Pad at Haller Park, and the Stilly Tribe has pledged $500,000 in matching funds to the project. Rotary is partnering with their Friends of the Park (individual and corporate donors) and other organizations offering grants to provide a fun and safe place to play in the water alongside the Stillaguamish River.
The new restrooms are part of a more-ambitious makeover for the park that would include the Splash Pad, a stage/plaza area, vendor plaza, new seating areas, group shelter, kiosk, riverside gathering spot with seating walls and interpretive panels, rain gardens and areas for children to play.