Community faces uncertainty over skate park construction schedule | News

City staff continue to analyze the only bid for the Carpinteria skate park to determine financially feasible construction options, Director of Public Works John Ilasin told council Monday.

Last month, the council was informed that only one bid, nearly $500,000 over budget, had been received to build the Carpinteria Skate Park – a blow to the Carpinteria Skatepark Foundation, which has struggled to fundraising for the project over the past few years.

“Right now, the supply is almost 50% above the engineers’ estimate,” Ilasin said. “Regarding the competition that exists, why did we receive an offer? It’s up to city staff to investigate.

Ilasin presented several potential options for the council moving forward. Option A: award the bid to the sole bidder; option B: reject the offer and build the project through city employees; option C: reject the offer and relaunch the ad for other offers; option D: reject the bid and split the project into smaller, separate bid packages; or option E: abandon the project.

All but Option A would cause construction delays.

The city currently doesn’t have any municipal staff capable of doing the job, or the right equipment, Ilasin said, meaning Option B would come at a “substantial” but undetermined cost. Options C and D also bring a number of unknown factors and costs into the equation, and could result in lower or higher bids, according to city staff.

Council member Gregg Carty and other council members expressed concern over the rejection of the sole offer.

“What do we do if (new bids) come back and they’re all higher than this bid?” Carty asked.

The council opted to defer any decision until the next city council meeting on March 14, despite telling city staff that Option A – accepting the offer – was the most preferable. If they accept the current offer, the board discussed the possibility of dividing the additional $500,000 between city funds and a new fundraiser from the foundation.

Carty asked the staff if it was possible for the sole bidder to re-evaluate the cost of the project; to go that route, city legal counsel Jena Shoaf Acos said the council would have to reject the current bid and the current bidder would go through the public bidding process again.

“Before such a thing happens, we should take one of these measures which are set out in the public procurement code,” she said. “Because this is a public project under the public procurement code, we must comply with special procedures in order to receive offers for this work.”

Members of the Carpinteria Skatepark Foundation have made it clear that Option E – abandon the project – is not an option. Ilasin also said Option E is not a recommended pursuit.

“I think of the generations of children who ended up falling through our cracks. They are middle schoolers with nowhere to go after school, and they end up — in the court of public opinion — truants,” Foundation member Julia Mayer told council on Monday.

“The longer we take to bring this project to the part where we’re building, it’s just time for the kids,” she added.

City staff will come back at the next council meeting with more information on council’s options.

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