Park board expedites flood repairs

The Minot Park Board held an unusual 11:30 a.m. meeting Wednesday, at the Roosevelt Park Zoo visitor center meeting hall. Although its next scheduled meeting is not until March 19, a short-notice Committee of the Whole meeting was called in to hurry along bids for ongoing facility repairs after the 2011 flood.

Minot Park Board clerk Cindy Thomas described the Committee of the Whole assemblage as an emergency measure to speed up flood repairs. On their own, departmental committee meetings cannot take bids or make fiscal decisions. “The only way they can take bids is if we have a quorum,” she said. “The next board meeting is March 19, so we gain two weeks on repairs.”

There were three bids up for consideration, presented by Randy Burckhard of the city maintenance department. The first dealt with general facility and electrical repairs, including the concessions facilities at Corbett Field, the maintenance shed and wiring at Jack Hoeven Park and the “bark park” dog area nearby.

With repairs estimated at around $257,000, the low bid on the project was for $267,615 by Rolette Construction, which will include general, mechanical, and electrical repairs and renovation. The repairs at Jack Hoeven Park will be primarily covered by its flood insurance settlement, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency funding made available for repairs at Corbett Field will come up short.

“We’ll use bond money or city funding to supplement” the difference, said parks director Ron Merritt.

Asked when work can be expected to be complete, Burckhard responded, “We need to look at Corbett Field before we’re sure. We’re hoping new sodding turns out good, but we won’t know until we see it.” Concerns include underground cabling and an old electrical system, as well as whether the field’s irrigation system has maintained its integrity. “Typically, they shovel the snow off the dugouts and play as soon as they can,” added Burckhard, who is hoping concessions at the field will be repaired in time for the upcoming season.

After some discussion, the bid was unanimously awarded. The next item for discussion was the river pump system by the zoo, which irrigates Corbett Field, the main lawn at Roosevelt Park, and fills the duck pond. Estimates for repairs came in around $208,000, but the sole bid for the project was for $187,050, again from Rolette Construction.

The pumphouse would remain where it currently is, with the lower unit being replaced due to foundation issues. The upper electrical unit is only in need of repair. Once the pump is again operational, the irrigation system feeding Corbett Field’s sprinklers can be properly assessed for leakage. Currently the ballpark is being irrigated with city water, but will again be with water from the river nearby.

“That’s some pretty putrid water,” park commissioner Robert Petry dryly observed. His concern was that the water being spread would have a distinctive and unpleasant smell.

“The grass likes it,” Burckhard rejoined, explaining that the river water makes for good, essentially free fertilizer.

“I think it’s fortunate to find a single contractor” that can address the various repairs, remarked commissioner Cliff Hovda. “I’d like to compliment Rolette Construction, who we’ve worked with before.” He went on to praise the contractor’s quality of work and general reliability. “It’s a good, reasonable bid,” he concluded, before moving to accept the bid. After some discussion the bid was accepted unanimously.

Last on the agenda was a bid for a 2013 Ford F-150 for the forestry department, to replace its current car roundly described as old and ill-suited for its intended use. The bid from Westlie Motors was for $25,963; though forestry was budgeted for $18,000 for a new vehicle, the unexpected savings gained from its stump grinder and recent payloader acquisition cover the additional cost. The truck has 4-wheel drive and a spray-in bedliner suitable for parks and forestry work.

The car the truck would replace would go for pool use, replacing a Taurus currently in use there now destined to go “straight to Porter Bros.,” joked Merritt. The bid was unanimously accepted, marking the end of the meeting.

“I think this is a good idea, having Committee of the Whole, so we can get these things passed quickly,” noted Hovda at the meeting’s end. Barring the need to meet for unexpected business, the Minot Park Board will meet again at its normally scheduled meeting, 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19. The meeting will be held once again at the zoo visitor center.