Council to rebid in hopes of spring construction

EVART — This past summer, residents and business owners in Evart were looking forward to seeing a new, updated downtown. However, upgrades have not occurred.

City council members discussed the issue during the Oct. 20 meeting with Fleis and Vandenbrink representative Rick Stout, who said the Main Street project had been split into two projects in hopes the city would receive bids from companies who could manage smaller jobs. After weeks of taking bids, however, only one bid came back from a Mount Pleasant company for the pocket park project at about double the cost the city was seeking. Stout told city council members he believes most contractors were too busy this year to take on additional jobs.

Stout said he, Evart City Manager Zack Szakacs and Evart Downtown Development Authority Director Al Weinberg hosted a conference call with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to discuss the next plan of action. The MEDC did not want the first option of the city to make design changes to reduce the cost of the downtown project and did not answer a question regarding the second option of donating additional funding.

The third option, Stout added, is for the city to rebid the projects and hope for a bid that can begin construction in the spring. He also recommended the city include additional contingency to show the MEDC the project is of the utmost importance and something to which the city is committed.

Szakacs recommended the city include a contingency of up to $20,000, adding he is confident a rebid will bring in positive results.

City council members approved Szakacs' recommendation, with council member Gregg Sherman opposed and BJ Foster absent.

In other business:

  • City council approved the appointment of Jason O'Dell to the Downtown Development Authority Board to replace Tina Thompson, who resigned from the position.