Disc Golf Course delayed until next summer
COVID-19 and other factors cause construction issues
REED CITY -- The Disc Golf course at Rambadt Park in Reed City will not be completed this year as originally planned.
Several factors have resulted in delays in the planning and construction of the project.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in shutdowns which halted construction temporarily, and the initial lockdown across the state caused issue with moving the project forward.
Council member Roger Meinert said his recollection was that there was enough go ahead from the council that he expected to see more progress this summer.
"Obviously COVID-19 has caused some delays, but as construction got back to work, why there has not been any progress on site at this point?" Meinert asked.
City Manager Ron Howell explained that the city went ahead with the removal of select trees in March, and have since been in the process of removing the brush.
"We are clearing the area to get ready to lay out the course," Howell said. "My last communication with Hedstrom indicated that he was excited about the cleanup and was ready to get started on the project. His submitting of the invoice for the overall project was, in a sense, his saying he was ready to get going."
At a meeting in June, the city council made the decision to hold payment on the invoice for $4,500 from Hedstrom to get further clarification of exactly what the invoice was for.
"I reached out to him to explain that council wanted the total broken down to reflect the actual work that had been completed so far, that being the design of the course," Howell said. "I encouraged him to break out the rest - overseeing the installation of equipment, installing pads, opening events - and provide separate totals for each part. Unfortunately, I have not heard back from him on that."
In addition to those delays, in March the council halted the project due to concerns that the bidding process was not properly followed when approving Hedstrom's bid to complete the project. The council voted to hold the project until a review of the process could be completed.
According to council member Dave Sharlow, it was determined that the city charter required additional bids, and recommended they put out for additional bids in order to meet the charter requirements.
"My understanding is that we can't go any further because of the way the charter is written unless we get more bids," Sharlow said. "I recommend we still use Hedstrom's bid that he gave us and put out for a couple of other bids so we can continue the project."
Director of Public Works director Rich Rehkopf suggested they take some time to come up with some specifics about what the project will involve before putting it out for bids.
"We can't have three different guys bidding on something without knowing exactly what we want," Rehkopf said. "It is probably not going to happen this year anyway, so I can reach out to some other communities to get some specs and put something together to get us headed in the right direction."
Attorney Dave Porteous agreed, saying, he would encourage the council to make sure the specifications are very complete before putting out bids.
"Even if it means delaying the project for a couple of months, I think it would be wise to come up with comprehensive specs for the bid process," he said.
Some council members expressed concerns about delaying the project further, but Mayor Guiles said it was not likely the project would be completed this year as planned in any case.
"Even if we approve putting out bids tonight, we wouldn't be able to approve the bids until the August meeting, and by then it is late enough in the season that it is not likely that the golf course would get installed this year."
Council decided to delay the project until further information could be gathered regarding the specifics for the bid process and until further communication could be made with Hedstrom, and revisit the issue at the next council meeting in August.
In other business, after hearing no comment from the public during the public hearing portion of the meeting, the council voted to approve the rezoning request from Ebels to change the property at 105 E. Church St. from residential to commercial.
The request was previously approved by the planning commission and recommended for approval by the council.
The Ebels project includes using the property to construct a loading dock for delivery of goods to the supermarket.
The council also voted to keep city hall closed to the public until there is a policy put in place to open safely. Howell will work with Osceola County Emergency manager Mark Watkins to develop a reopening plan.