Evart council awards bids for DIG project with stipulation of additional state funding

EVART — Although Evart is still waiting for the state to OK additional funds for the city's Downtown Infrastructure Grant it received last year, council members approved a motion to award the lowest bidders of the project, on the stipulation the city receives that extra funding.

The project plans include new signage, LED lighting to replace the current bulbs in the posts along Main Street, sidewalks with American Disability Act tactile strips and an art node. A rain garden, sitting areas and unisex bathrooms will be constructed in a pocket park, and designated bike trails will help connect the downtown area to the Pere Marquette Rail Trail.

The total project cost is estimated to be $692,841, with a local match of $69,285, but about $82,000 is still needed because of high bids. The city has until June 30 to complete the DIG project.

To combat the lack of funds, Evart City Manager Zack Szakacs wrote a letter to the state offering a plan for the city and Downtown Development Authority to carry $16,000 of the responsibility, while requesting the state to provide additional funds to offset the remainder of the cost. He has yet to receive an official letter stating the city will be awarded the money.

If the city receives the extra funds, the bid awards will go to Rivertown Contracting Inc. for the pocket park at $216,500 and Crawford Contracting for Main Street improvements at $362,300.

Once bid awards are granted and as soon as the ground thaws, the project will begin.