The Ojibway Park Redevelopment Project will cost nearly $1 million more than originally planned.
The Woodbury City Council officially awarded contract bids for the project at its Wednesday, Sept. 12 meeting. One week before, Assistant Park and Recreation Director Mike Adams presented an updated budget that factored in estimated costs from bidders, totaling almost $3.5 million.
After much discussion by the council, more than $90,000 in cuts were made to the budget, leaving the city to go forward with a budget of $3.38 million. The budget goal was originally $2.5 million.
In response to the higher-than-anticipated bids, Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens suggested changing the process by which budgets for Capital Improvement Projects are set. Stephens said bids for construction projects had been consistently coming in over budget, leaving city staff to “whittle down” its plans.
“We need a better process to get the CIPs closer to reality,” Stephens said at the Sept. 5 meeting.
In the meantime, council members weren’t keen on scrapping large amounts of the project just to meet the original $2.5 million goal. They agreed that further cuts would compromise the goals of the redevelopment, and could possibly cost more to add later.
“Smaller numbers always look better, but you don’t know exactly what you’re sacrificing,” Council Member Amy Scoggins said.
The most expensive element by far in the redevelopment is the park building renovation, now estimated at $1.87 million. A new playground, expansion of the skatepark and a stormwater feature are other major additions to the park. The project will also include upgrades to parking lots, the bandshell, trails, picnic shelters, landscaping, benches and signage.
The main sources of funding will be the city’s Capital Improvement Fund and Park Dedication Fund, which includes certain fees collected from new developments. Wetland restoration, native plants and the stormwater landscape feature will be covered by the Stormwater Central Draw Fund. Other costs will be reimbursed by the Woodbury Lions Club, the Woodbury Days Committee, the South Washington Watershed District and the South Washington County Cable Commission.
Ojibway Park is located at 2695 Ojibway Drive near Woodbury High School. Along with previously mentioned amenities, it has an outdoor ice rink, warming house, athletic fields, horseshoe courts and sand volleyball courts. The park often plays host to community events, including Woodbury Days and Starlight Cinema’s outdoor summer movie series.
What was cut
One of the first items to go, a metal roof for the park building, was suggested by Adams. Cost estimates for the metal roof came in about $150,000 over budget, which could be attributed to recent steel tariffs, Adams said. The council agreed on a cheaper but just as hardy asphalt shingle roof.
The number of tables, benches, trees and other plants was also decreased. Those that are put in will be handled separately through the Memorial Program and the operating budget.
The following items may be added in later, if alternate funding sources are found:
• Window treatments and non-critical restroom tiling in the park building
• A trail connecting the bandshell to the south parking lot
• Half of planned signage (includes park monument signs and neighborhood trail access signs)
• Half of planned maps and wayfinding signage
In addition, the amount of construction fencing will be reduced, and the city will take care of dumpster needs during construction rather than contracting out the service.