City awards contract for honor courtyard

SOLANA BEACH — If all goes as planned the 2016 Memorial Day ceremony at La Colonia Park will be held in a new venue honoring past, present and future members of the U.S. military.

Council members at the Oct. 28 meeting unanimously approved a contract with Conan Construction Inc. to build the Veterans Honor Courtyard, which has been in the works for about three years.

It was the city’s second attempt to find a construction company.

Recognition for veterans was included in $4 million improvement plans 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, which was abolished by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011.

Council approved plans for a memorial in 2012 after a community group, led by former Mayor Teré Renteria, 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 simply a memorial.

The first request for proposals was released in November 2014 for three-and-a-half weeks, including Thanksgiving weekend.

The typical bidding period is four to six weeks but it was shortened so the project could potentially be completed in time for the 2015 Memorial Day ceremony.

Only two proposals were submitted and both were substantially higher than what had been budgeted for the project so they were rejected in January.

City staff worked with the community group to modify the project.

The initial design featured a stone veneer wall with military emblems behind a reflecting pool that had water “sheeting” into it over the wall.

There was also 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.

To fit within the budget the water feature and decorative bench wall were removed.

“The water feature was formerly the south wall of the courtyard,” Dan Goldberg, from the city’s Engineering Department, said. “Now, without the decorative water feature, the south wall will match the other walls and a three-tiered concrete fountain will be installed in the middle of the courtyard.”

Current plans include a plaque that states, “No man is truly dead unless he is forgotten. And so we remember them …”

Goldberg said other miscellaneous modifications were made to help reduce costs but none will change the appearance of the project, which was readvertised for construction bids for six weeks beginning Sept. 10.

Six proposals were received ranging from Conan’s $215,235 to $353,076. Straight Line General Contractors Inc. responded to both RFPs. This time the Oceanside-based company was the third lowest bidder.

The total project is estimated to cost $296,000. That includes a contingency of $48,705, or 20 percent, and another $32,000 for alternate bid items such as decorative metal arches at the pilasters, replacing a bike rack and a new fence along the west side of the park.

Funding includes $100,000 in grant money from the county’s Neighborhood Reinvestment Program, $86,000 from the city’s capital improvement program and $40,000 raised by the community group through donor tile sales.

The city also received a $1,000 donation from the organizers of the Solana Beach Sunset 5K, a sunset beach run that benefits San Diego County Medical Society Foundation’s diabetes prevention efforts.

To make up the $70,000 shortfall, council authorized the use of $45,000 in undesignated reserves from the public improvement grant fund. The remaining $25,000 will come from a capital improvement fund earmarked for repairs to the La Colonia Community Center.

According to the staff report there is sufficient money in that fund for any anticipated repairs to the center during this fiscal year.

Money raised by the community group will be used before city funds.

The contract calls for 100 working days, or 20 weeks, with completion slated for mid-May 2016, a few weeks before Memorial Day.

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