Members of the Alta City Council narrowly passed a motion that will allow construction on a new bathhouse-concession stand structure south of the football field in town, a project which will cost the city over $200,00 this year to build.
The motion by Councilman Dan Huseman, which won approval from the five-person City Council by a 3-2 margin, awarded the project to Cherokee-based Paul Park Construction Company, the low bidder of five companies vying for the job of building the new facility this spring and summer.
Paul Park bid $202,918 for the project, while Taylor Contracting of Storm Lake was the next closest bidder with a proposal of $205,510. Spencer-based Midstates Builders bid $205,868, while Alta contractor Tom French bid $209,870.
Huseman, Brian Walsh and Veronica McFadden voted in favor of the motion, while Bruce McGowan and Ron Gullickson voted against the proposal.
Construction on the new facility will begin as soon as possible this spring, and the project is scheduled to be completed in the latter part of August.
The decision was made after a debate of nearly half an hour among city council members, and McGowan and Gullickson had strong objections to the proposal to construct the facility at this time, saying the project would stretch the city's budget too thin for the next fiscal year.
"My problem with this is that we're depleting our funds," Gullickson said. "We've already got some other projects on our hands, and I just don't feel we can do this at this time."
"I really think there are better places to spend the money," McGowan said. "This is going to cost a lot more than we were originally envisioning, and I don't want to spend that much when we have other places in town that could use that money as well."
The final bids were less expensive than initial bids for the project, which were around $213,000, but Walsh said one of the main reasons for voting in favor of the proposal now was the likelihood that future bids for the project would be higher than the $202,000 bid now.
"I just don't think we're going to get these bids again," Walsh said. "I think if we wait it's just going to become more expensive to do it, and we'll probably build less for the same price.
"We've all said it needs to be fixed, and if we don't build it now that doesn't mean the need has gone away," Walsh continued. "It's still something we have to do, and I think now is the best time to do it."
"I know the bids came in higher than what we expected," Huseman said, "but I think it's something that will help the park and benefit the school and city."
Members of the City Council were originally scheduled to decide the issue when the five bids were presented to the organization three weeks ago, but that decision was tabled until Monday night to both allow the council to weigh the issue some more and provide time for the city to pursue grants from the state.
However, the state had not awarded any grants to the city by Monday night, and councilmembers had to decide whether to move forward with the project or not before bids expired on Feb. 13.
The new facility will be used by the Alta Booster Club to sell concessions during home football games and will also be used as a bathhouse and changing area for patrons of the city swimming pool during the summer months.