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Bids for Shawnee park project top estimates by almost $300,000

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

ELIZABETH DODD ~ edodd@semissourian.com
Dan Muser Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Director.
Taken April 2009
Cape Girardeau leaders plan a Thursday groundbreaking for the new Shawnee Community Centre, but angry city council members on Monday demanded answers about why bids for the project exceeded estimates by almost $300,000.

"This is supposed to be something where everybody is sitting around the campfire singing 'Kumbaya,'" Mayor Jay Knudtson said to Dan Muser, director of the city's Parks and Recreation Department. "Instead, due to the architect's failure, we've got a terrible situation on our hands."

The project to build a new community center and additional sports fields at the Shawnee Sports Complex near the intersection of West End Boulevard and Highway 74 is one of the big construction jobs supported by a sales tax approved by voters in April 2008. The plan, when the tax was approved by voters, was to devote $4.46 million to all the work needed at the location. Groundbreaking on the project is set for 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Some work, including asphalt for parking lots, has already been completed and some money is set aside for equipment in the community center and other items. When the city advertised for bids, it had about $3.35 million available for the construction project.

The lowest bid was for $3.11 million for the basic project, from Sides Construction. But because mistakes Muser blamed on architect Ron Grojean, lights for three new softball fields were left out of the basic project. When the amount Sides asked to install the lights -- $480,000 -- is added in, the company's bid is at least $250,000 more than the funds available.

"Why the hell wasn't that in there?" Knudtson asked. "It is lights."

"I can't tell you," Muser said. "I am not very happy with the performance of the architect."

Muser recommended that the bids be rejected, that the specifications be rewritten and new bids solicited. But council members instead voted to postpone that decision for two weeks and asked that Muser try to negotiate with Sides and bring Grojean to the council's next meeting, on June 1, to answer questions.

"We have to manage the scope to deliver those things," Ward 1 Councilman John Voss said. "We need to deliver on those projects."

Even if the cost of the project can be successfully negotiated, Muser said numerous items considered optional in the initial bidding phase will be cut. Those items include concrete walkways connecting new softball fields, asphalt parking lots in some locations, additional lighting and an emergency generator for the community center.

On another big park project, the council awarded a contract for $818,000 to Jokerst Inc. for site preparation work at the Osage Community Centre to expand at the center and construct an aquatic park. Bids for actual construction will be solicited later this year. A groundbreaking for the project is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday.

In other action, the council voted unanimously to impose the city's 2.75 percent sales tax during the state's back-to-school sales tax holiday. The action, which requires another vote in two weeks, is necessary because of the city's tight budget in the upcoming year, several council members said.

"Good stewardship is what the citizens expect," Ward 3 Councilwoman Debra Tracy said. "You can't give away what you don't have."

The council also approved a $2.4 million contract with Lappe Cement Finishing for a project to widen Mount Auburn Road from Independence Street to Kings­highway. The road will be widened to four lanes through residential areas, and to five lanes, with one center turn lane, in commercial sections. A traffic light will replace the four-way stop sign at the Hopper Road intersection.



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Pertinent addresses:

401 Independence St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

1157 S. West End Blvd., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

1625 N. Kingshighway, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

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"Why the hell wasn't that in there?" Knudtson asked.

LOL, was Knudston referring to the lights or the check is in the mail from Premier Aircraft for their missed payments?

-- Posted by gman on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 6:18 AM

Muser blames Grojean! Now, "mama always said that stupid is as stupid does". Listen boys, all of you need to do the right thing and step up and admit that you dropped the ball....at the tax payers expense of course! GET UR DONE!!!


-- Posted by arrestthem on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 6:49 AM

Play without lights for a year or two.

-- Posted by Red Devil on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 6:57 AM

Why does any of this need to be done? For a few soccer parents?

-- Posted by Just__Me on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 7:03 AM

Rudi you should have asked for a comment from the architect before running this story. I'd like to hear his side of things before I believe anything from the babbling buffoons at city hall.

-- Posted by TommyStix on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 8:31 AM

I guess the mayor and city council will be looking for another way to make taxpayers pay for a mistake they made! I think it should come out of their pockets.

-- Posted by newman90 on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 8:41 AM

I've got my wires crossed somewhere.

Grojean was the architect used by the City and the end result was that none of the bids included lights?

-- Posted by malan on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 9:06 AM

Kind of feel sorry for the Architect. He's taking a public beating over mistakes made at City Hall. Perhaps City Hall needs to change the process to ensure all of their requirements are met by the Architect.

-- Posted by Beaker on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 9:08 AM

These lights should have been on the original specs from the engineer. Those would have been submitted to the architect. I find it difficult to believe these specs did not include lights!

Seems there is plenty of blame slinging around however, the blame lies on all parties involved.

The drawings from Grojean would have had to be approved by the City. Who was sleeping on that one before this project went to bid? I suggest they remove the "football" field from the plans as this would free up some of the cost to correct this error. Its true that too many mistakes are being made by our City leaders and it may be time we keep this in mind on the next City election.

Grojean is a good architect and I doubt we will see him at any Council meeting soon. He would be wise to settle this with the City manager away from cameras.

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 9:45 AM

This is being blown way out of proportion. This story fails to include several facts.

Also, doing a rebid at this point after they have announced the price of the low bidder? Are they serious?

-- Posted by westend on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 10:20 AM

I think the city leaders should put off any unnecessary play areas until the economy turns around. It's not like we don't have these things already in Cape. Straighten up guys and look at the real things that need be taken care of on the agenda. And stop taxing us for every little move we make and you want to make. Get back to the real life or you will find yourselves in trouble like Calf. Don't blame the architect for this you guys should have looked over the plans and signed off on them as being correct. You are at fault here ladies and gents.

-- Posted by monk on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 10:55 AM

"Good stewardship is what the citizens expect," Ward 3 Councilwoman Debra Tracy said. "You can't give away what you don't have."

Thank you, can I stop paying all your ridiculous taxes b/c I don't have it right now? What a crock? It's our money to begin with, I personally think u take quite enough.

Overbudget $250,000...let's wait 2 weeks, NO, reject the bids like Muser reccommended and try again, U can't spend what u don't have, RIGHT?

-- Posted by Turnip on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 11:09 AM

Do not jump to conclusions by reading one side of the story. Yes it would be nice to hear the architects side. If the plans do not have lights, then this should have been verified prior to going to bid. When everyone 'assumes'anything, this is when this kind of thing happens. It needs to pointed out that the plans were or were not approved by the city prior to the bidding.

The main thing now is for everyone to work together to resolve the issue and not spend too much effort playing the 'blame game'.

-- Posted by Centraloptimist on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 11:19 AM

This is exactly what happened w/ the Jaycee golf course project. How can a sales tax increase go on the ballet before a bid has actually been accepted? So now Cape is collecting tax on this and the golf course, the money is going into its coffers, and the promised projects aren't even being worked on? Where is this money and what's happening w/ it? Knudtson needs to go and he needs to go now. This is all happening on his watch and it's unacceptable.

-- Posted by heye1967 on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 11:48 AM

you guys have no idea what you are talking about.

-- Posted by westend on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 12:57 PM

Not sure what to say about a newpaper putting the Architect on trial within their printed columns - without a single word from the Architect's side.

Seems unfair, and the selected quotes from the local dignitaries are outlandish at best...In any other town, you all would be cited for slander. This paper and everyone quoted in the article are unethical, again - at best...For all we know, Mr. Muser could be a "yes man", and that perhaps the City officials were not effective at communicating their specific needs to the Architect. Ever consider that? !!!

-- Posted by jacksonjazzman on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 3:29 PM

I'm no architect, but I'd think that on a ball field, besides land, lights would be your biggest expense.

-- Posted by grandma73 on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 3:36 PM

I really feel sorry for Mr. Grojean and agree that the story would have been much more balanced if there was a quote from him, however it should be noted that typically someone responsible for a project of this size and complexity would be at the Council meeting to discuss the opening of bids and the potential award or rejection of the contract. I wonder why that didn't occur in this instance? If the parks director acted as the project manager during the preparation of the contract then he has an obligation to stand up and take responsibility for what was or wasn't in the contract, not throw the professional services provider under the bus at the council meeting when he's not there to defend himself.

-- Posted by hondaprimacy on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 7:28 PM

The sheeple of Cape voted for this crap, now all of us are stuck with it.


PS: Always vote "no" on a tax increase. I don't care what it's for, vote "no".

-- Posted by Just__Me on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 7:05 AM

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