“Extraordinarily high” bids pause park bathroom plans

Published 8:50 am Wednesday, August 23, 2023

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The proposed restroom facilities for Moss & Wood Park in LaGrange are headed back to the drawing board after the bids threw a wrench into the project. The bids came in more than twice what the city had budgeted to spend on the project.

City Manager Meg Kelsey said the bids for the project came in extremely high. but they are still working to bring restrooms to the park.

“We are looking at ways that we can cut that cost down bring that back to council see what direction the council wants to go,” Kelsey said.

The low bid was $707,321 and the high bid was $785,000, according to Assistant City Manager Bill Bulloch.

Bulloch said they had three bidders for the project and they all came in over $700,000, though only two bids were officially accepted. One was disqualified for coming in late, but it would have been the highest bid.

The council had previously budgeted $350,000 to build the restroom facility.

The original plans for the facility only included single stalls for both men and women, so city staff were surprised when the bids came in at what they described as “extraordinarily high.”

Councilman Leon Childs suggested potentially limiting the scope of the facility to a single unisex restroom.

Bulloch said he is working with the contractor and architect and looking at options to bring back to the council.

“It’s just that inflation is just crazy right now, with a lot of work going on. We had really had three bidders on this. We had a single bid that was extraordinarily high, that makes you kind of wonder, but all these bids came in over $700,000,” Bulloch said.

Councilman Nathan Gaskin suggested reconsidering the portable restrooms that were previously discussed by the council as an option for the park.

Childs said the park needs restrooms of some type for families and other community members that utilize the park.

“I think the only option that we don’t have is not putting the bathroom there. So, what can we get for $350,000?” Childs asked.

“We can look at alternatives that would that could cut the cost some but the only problem with that is and our experience is you have to have a door that locks. We’ve had problems at South Bend with homeless people going in and young kids going in and doing things they shouldn’t do,” Bulloch said. “We would have to include some other security-type measures like we did at South Bend, which could bring the cost back up.”