In 2015, work on a 900-foot concrete pathway connecting the Columbus Riverwalk to the Lowndes County Soccer Complex was completed to the tune of $600,000.
It won’t cost nearly that much to extend a new concrete “walking path,” the Riverwalk/Soccer Complex connector, across the soccer complex’s northern section to its terminal point near Corretta Street.
But it could be more expensive than the county budgeted for the project.
Bids were opened during Monday’s board of supervisors meeting, with only one coming in less than the planned $150,000 budget.
The proposed 1,003-foot long, eight-foot wide concrete path will feature 10 exercise stations, each of them with wooden equipment along with signage explaining how equipment is used to target certain muscle groups.
Pavecon LTD of Grand Prairie, Texas, bid $141,976. The two other bids, from local contractor Phillips Construction ($188,100) and Glassgow Construction of Guin, Alabama ($190,000), were considerably over budget.
The project is funded through a grant from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks through an 80/20 matching grant. The supervisors had budgeted the $30,000 required for the match.
The board took the bids under advisement to allow County Engineer Bob Calvert to review them to see if they meet grant specifications, but with two of the three bids coming in roughly $40,000 over budget, supervisors may have to consider their options, Board President Trip Hairston said.
“We really won’t know until (Calvert) has looked at all the bids, but we may be in a situation where it’s going to cost more than we planned for,” Hairston said. “If that’s the case, I think the first thing we would do is look to see if there are some areas where we could cut some costs.”
Lowndes County Parks Director Roger Short said there is very little wiggle room in the project, however.
“We’ve already bought the equipment (at a cost of $1,200) for the work stations,” Short said. “Really, the rest of the project is the concrete work and installing the equipment. There aren’t a lot of options.”
One obvious solution, to narrow the path from eight to six feet, is off the table, Short said.
“The eight-foot path is part of the grant requirements, so we couldn’t change that,” Short said.
The exercise path has long been planned for the complex, Short said.
“This is the third time we’ve applied for the grant, going back to around 2016,” Short said. “Hopefully, we can find a way to make it work out.”
Hairston agreed with Short’s sentiment.
“I think we can find a way to go forward,” Hairston said. “I don’t think the supervisors would want to leave $120,000 on the table, especially for a grant we have been trying to get for several years.”
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is email@example.com.
You can help your community
Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.