Monday, June 26, 2017
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More discussions of Veterans Field

The Veterans Field construction was further discussed at the recent Scottsboro City Work Session. The project, which was one of four projects proposed by previous mayor, Melton Potter, and approved by the Scottsboro City Council in 2016, was originally estimated to cost $1 million. Following the field’s demolition in June 2016, council members learned that the cost of the project well exceeded $1 million.

Council president Tony Wallingsford began the discussion by stating, “I find it hard to find the proper descriptive term to express my feelings about this project. The council had approved the project estimate of $1.1 million. Following that we were told $1.7-$1.8 million and we felt like we could get that number down. We made the decision to break out part of the contract to be performed by the city. During our budget hearings, we still felt like, even with us doing that the project was going to run in that neighborhood. If I’m reading these numbers correctly, it looks like total project, with contingencies is now $2.396 million.”

Council member Keith Smith stated, “This whole project started out as $1 million. We asked Mrs. Harding to come and talk about it, and it was somewhat more than $1 million. At the time that she brought that to us, we started adding, like the second story on the building, lighting, fencing, all kinds of things. Jim Olyniec came along and was going to be the one who saved us. He did the best he could I’m sure. Now we’re at the $2.396 million, which leaves somewhere in the neighborhood of $500,000 for the other three projects. As most of you know, we basically have canceled the heritage center, we downsized the fire department to basically a facelift and the rec center was going to be over $1.5 million. We haven’t really talked about what we’re going to do. It appears to me that if we can do these remaining projects for $500,000 we’re still in the ball game and I don’t think that’s anywhere close to possible. To me, what we have been doing, before our current mayor came along, we have been assigning committees to handle all of this. The bad part is that two council committees can’t handle all of this because it’s above and beyond all of us. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one project takes the whole $3 million. I think instead of forming a committee we form a committee of five councilmen and do what we do at a work session or council meeting and put it all out for the whole world to know what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Because what we’re doing right now is not working. I’m not trying to be ugly, I’m trying to be realistic. People have a right to know what we’re doing. We told the people at the beginning that we could do that ball field for $1 million. Apparently that’s not fact. I was on the Heritage Center committee, they worked very hard to keep it within their $500,000. We keep saying we have them on hold, but we don’t have them on hold. Everyone here knows, that’s over with. You may all disagree with me, but it wouldn’t be the first time. We just have to do something different.”

Wallingsford then stated, “Mr. Mayor, I think you had talked with the contractor about trying to do some engineering to get some of the costs out of the project.”

Mayor Robin Shelton replied, “That is correct. the way the process works is, until we get a contract in place, and can move forward. There has been some areas identified and there are some cost savings once we move forward with the project and there will be deductions from the amounts stated for his contract. The general contractor contract is $1.498 with an alternate of sodding all the outfields at $32,000, which we’re asking to move forward with. Once those are signed and in place, and we move forward with that, then there would be some deductions from that amount. There’s still the unknown once you get into the sight work, as the old saying goes, “What lies beneath.” At this point, I think between Ms. Harding and Mr. Tolar and Jim Olyniec, and me just listening and asking a few questions, I think it’s been hammered. I understand your concerns and disappointments, but I think it’s time we move forward.”

Wallingsford replied, “Part of my frustration is, I feel like we are at a juncture where we have very few options. We can’t not have a baseball field. I’m still looking for a design that is $1.2 or $1.3 million. But have yet to see that. I hope that we’ve learned a very valuable lesson because it’s going to be a very expensive one.”

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