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News Commissioners vote to go with local firms on rec park project

Macon County commissioners voted Tuesday night to change engineers for the Parker Meadows recreation project.

After soliciting bids for the remaining portion of the project, commissioners elected to cut ties with the Asheville based firm Civil Engineering Design, and instead contract with the Franklin-based CEtech Engineering.

The county has worked with Mike LoVoy of Civil Engineering Design since the inception of the recreational complex. LoVoy completed all the preliminary design and engineering work for the proposed project. After county leaders voted to complete the recreation project all at one time instead of in phases over the next few years, they decided to bid out the engineering portion of the project.

The two bids considered, one from LoVoy and the other from Larry Lackey of CEtech, were relatively similar in bidder cost. Although LoVoy’s bid of $49,500 was slightly less than Lackey’s $49,750, LoVoy’s contract left out elements such as travel expenses that would result in additional costs.

With an ambitious bid let date of April 15, Lackey plans to get the project moving quickly. County Manager Derek Roland said that time is of the essence, the sooner the county moves on contracts such as this, the sooner kids can get out on the field. Roland hopes that the entire project will be able to be completed within nine months of breaking ground. With an anticipated construction start time of June, that would put little leaguers of 2015 under the lights and onto the fresh dirt of Macon County’s new state-of-the-art recreation facility by next summer.

Roland and County Attorney Chester Jones met with Lackey Wednesday morning to work out some legal language and to pin down some final decisions. Commissioners voted to award the proposed bid to Lackey pending Jones' satisfaction with Wednesday morning’s meeting.

Wednesday morning’s meeting was also designated as a time to set a specific timeline from Lackey as to plans for the project. Commissioner Ronnie Beale noted that while there are several factors that play into the process, such as approval from the Local Government Commission, a timeline from Lackey would give commissioners ease of mind.

“I really think having a local engineer is going to benefit us in the long run,” said Roland. “He has an office right here in town, so if we have any questions or concern, we can just stop in.”

Roland assured commissioners that the scope of work outlined in LoVoy’s contract for the preliminary engineering obligations for Phase I has been completed, and the $8,000 remaining on LoVoy’s contract will be returned to the county budget.

The bid from CETech budgeted $28,700 for the development of site plans such as paving, grading, and on-site wastewater system. Lackey also incorporated $3,500 for fees associated with bidding and bid documents, something Commissioner Paul Higdon wanted to ensure was included in the bid. The remaining portion of the bid covers hourly wages for clerical and design work associated with the project.

Commissioners also voted to award another local business work for the recreation facility. Franklin based architect Tom Ritter’s bid for the design of facilities within the park totaling $16,000 was also approved. Ritter will design and sketch the renderings for a picnic pavilion, the concession stands, the score booth and restrooms for the facility.


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