Veterans courtyard bids rejected

Veterans courtyard bids rejected
The 2014 Memorial Day ceremony at La Colonia Park comes to an end. Bids to build a memorial courtyard in the existing area were recently rejected because they were substantially higher than the available funding. The project will be rebid in about two months. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

SOLANA BEACH — With only two proposals submitted — one for nearly twice what was budgeted and the other about two-and-a-half times more — council members at the Jan. 14 meeting rejected both bids to build a courtyard at La Colonia Park honoring past, present and future members of the U.S. military.

Councilman Mike Nichols said although everyone involved is disappointed, city officials are “determined to keep that project a priority and make it happen.”

Recognition for veterans was included in a $4 million improvement plan for La Colonia Park and Community Center, but that project is on hold indefinitely because of a lack of funding.

Money was to come from the city’s redevelopment agency, but Gov. Jerry Brown abolished those agencies in 2011.

Council approved plans for a memorial in 2012 after a community group asked if the project could move forward apart from the La Colonia renovation. The name was changed because it was not necessarily meant to be just a memorial.

The courtyard will feature a stone veneer wall with military seals behind a reflecting pool. Water will “sheet” over the wall into the pool.

As proposed, there will also be a flagpole with a dedication plaque, a central medallion with an “In honor of those who served” statement, seating and a main entrance with decorative pilasters and an iron arch.

The citizens group led by former Mayor Teré Renteria began fundraising efforts that include the sale of personalized 1-foot square tiles, for $300 each, that will be installed in the courtyard to honor service members. About $35,000 has been raised from those sales.

The city budgeted $158,300 in the capital improvement program for improvements at the park, although not all of it is slated for the courtyard, and contributed another $80,000 from bond proceeds from the former redevelopment agency designated for use in the park area.

County Supervisor Dave Roberts, a Solana Beach resident, provided another $80,000 in grant funding.

About $60,000 was spent on design plans, leaving approximately $243,700 available to build the courtyard.

The request for proposals was released in November for three-and-a-half weeks. The typical bidding period is between four to six weeks but it was shortened so the project could be completed in time for the 2015 Memorial Day ceremony.

Oceanside-based Straight Line General Contractors Inc. submitted a proposal for approximately $441,000, while Palm Engineering Construction in San Diego estimated the job would cost $631,600.

City staff will work with Van Dyke Landscape Architects, which created the final design plans, to reduce costs without affecting the end product. The modified plans will be presented to the community group and ad hoc committee, which includes Nichols, before being readvertised.

The bidding period will be extended this time. Nichols said the modified plans should be ready to go out for bids in about two months.

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