Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

By Roger Dey

New Hooper Park restroom bids higher than hoped for


April 11, 2018

Lewis and Clark County is evaluating the new bids they received for the fabrication of the Hooper Park Restroom, but they’re higher than hoped for and the county will have to decide how they want to proceed.

“The good news is that a couple are local businesses in the Helena Valley area,” County Commissioner Andy Hunthausen said at last Friday’s Lincoln Government Day meeting., “Bad news is that the price came in at about $150,000.”

That puts Lewis and Clark County in a bind.

“We just don’t have that sitting around,” Hunthausen said. “We’ll have to figure it out for that budget session. Our hope is that we’ll do that.”

The bids are about $50,000 more that the original budget for the project, and $70,000 more than the original winning bid by UBC Precast, the Blackfoot Idaho company that was awarded the contract for the cast concrete structure in 2016, but failed to deliver.

The original $99,000 budget for the project was established in November 2015 through a $66,000 Department of Commerce tourism grant and $33,000 in matching funds from the county. But, after two and a half years, the timeframe for using the grant money has expired, taking it out of the equation.

The county also paid UBC Precast a $51,000 down payment, which they are trying to recover. Adding that to the new average bid puts the county into the project for about $200,000, Commissioner Jim McCormick said.

Although Lewis and Clark County is working to recover that money, there is some concern they may not be able to do so. The county attorney’s office filed a writ in Idaho to have UBC’s property to be assessed for value to recover the payment, but Hunthausen said it appears much of their equipment is leased, which exempts it from such efforts. Additionally, he said they have heard from a county in California that’s facing a similar situation with UBC, which means the county may find itself in line behind others who are also trying to recover money from them.

“We’re following every process we can, seeing if their insurance company has some responsibility in this. We’re following all these paths to get that money back, but in the meantime, we’re evaluating these bids,” Hunthausen said.

Hunthausen couldn’t commit to how, or whether, funding for the project will work out in the end, but said it’s their intention to see it completed.

“My guess, we’re down the road far enough, we’ve got to get this thing done,” he said.

The county grant coordinator is looking into other grant sources, but Hunthausen said the restroom facility is a hard category to fit to a grant.

Hooper Park has been without a restroom facility or running water since October 2016, when the original structure was taken down to make way for the new building. The state declared Hooper Park a public water source in 2016, which requires chlorination.


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