BELDING — From pipe dream to half pipes, the two-year long journey of a potential skate park in Belding may finally be traveling from fiction to reality.
The Belding City Council voted 3-1 Tuesday evening to award a bid to Evergreen Skate Parks to help design and build the future park, with Councilwoman Andrea Belding casting the lone opposing vote. Councilman Tom Jones was absent from the meeting.
According to City Manager Meg Mullendore, the Belding Recreation Board received only one quote from the Portland, Ore.-based company for $65,000 after soliciting 11 bids for the skate park.
Fundraising for the park began about two years ago and more than $72,000 has been raised through fundraising and donations; however, after a falling out between the Belding Skate Park Committee and Who Skates Skatepark Design and Construction, the project has become stagnate.
“We stepped back initially thinking we would utilize a specific firm, however … there was a breakdown in communication relative to what we were asking versus what we were getting,” Mullendore said. “I asked us to step back so we could actually prepare and request proposals with specifications outlining what our expectation was as far as the type of work that would be done.”
Mullendore said the goal was to find a company that would not only build the park, but aid in the design as well.
“Part of the request of the proposal was that not only would they be responsible for the construction but for the design (of the skate park) as well,” she said. “They did present seven conceptual designs. However, I think the intent is to sit down with the (Skate Park Committee) and hammer out what they want.”
The motion was passed with stipulations that there is appropriate site preparation and that there would be no monetary expenditure on the part of the city relative to the project.
“I spoke with (Evergreen Skate Parks) today and they are very excited about this project,” Mullendore said. “I think you can feel safe that the city won’t be absorbing anything outside what the initial expectation was.”
Councilman Joe Feuerstein said he was concerned about approving a bid without knowing what the final design of the park would look like.
“This bid says nothing about what (the design) pertains to,” Feuerstein said. “(The designing) is going to be done after this bid is agreed upon. If a bid goes out, there should be speculations on what they are asking for, not just a caveat of a little bit of everything.”
Mullendore said the specifics of the bid regarding how the park will be built, despite a lack of a design, will keep the scope of work within the expectations of the city.
“Accepting our Request for Proposal (RFP) and responding to it acknowledge that those are the terms that they will adhere to,” she said. “They understand what the minimum expectations are and that the city will not settle for less.”
Belding voted against the resolution because she believes a design for the park should be included in the company’s bid.
“I think it would have helped to see (their entire plan), especially because this is a company from out of state and that we have not worked with before,” she said. “It would be nice to see the designs for the park in the RFP.”
Belding cited a typographical error in the bid, wherein the company mistakenly referred to a different city in Michigan instead of the city of Belding, which “raised a red flag” for her.
Mayor Ron Gunderson said he was concerned that only one company of the 11 responded to the city’s request for a bid.
“I think some of the firms that are out there really aren’t used to having bid specifications put out in front of them,” Mullendore said. “They are used to being able to do what they want to do, but this isn’t your typical construction project.”
According to Mullendore, no timetable has been set on when construction of the park will begin or when designs will be completed.
The tentative location for the park is at Central Riverside Park at the site of the roller hockey rink, which is currently in need of repair.