When the so-called Octo-Bomb windstorm hit Grand Marais late last month, it left behind a seriously damaged municipal pool roof in the Recreation Park. Estimates show the repairs to roof and interior walls could reach $100,000. One of two estimates considered by the city council Wednesday topped that figure by over $32,000.
Even though the discrepancies between bids from Isak Hansen & Sons and B.M.A. Construction were considerable, the council agreed they needed to go ahead with repair to the pool. Mayor Sue Hakes:
Hakes: The council agreed unanimously that we want to repair the pool and that was based partially on what we know about the numbers and the costs to fix it, our attempts to mitigate any further damage and also the fact that I, personally, and I know some of the park board members, Robin Duschane in particular, have gotten a lot of calls from people who want to know whether the city council is going to move forward to fix the pool or not, and we are indeed going to do that. So, I think most people will be happy about that.
There was over $58,000 difference between the high bid from Isak Hansen and the lower B.M.A. bid, however the Mayor and council members could not make an “apples to apples” comparison between the two bids. Because the pool repair is considered a special emergency, the city does not have to go through the usual competitive bidding process.
Hakes: We want to make sure that the materials that are being bid, the work that is being provided are what we need, that the bidders are proposing the scope of work that we need them to.
The council instructed Rec Park Manager Dave Tersteeg to get further information to clear up several issues with the bids. Hakes said even though a pool is being considered as part of a new community center, the reconstruction work needs to be done.
Hakes: I did get one response from someone who said, “Why are you fixing the pool? We lose money on it, it costs us a lot of money, hopefully we’re going to have a new community center in a couple of years.” You know, that’s a valid point, but we decided that because the cost is $10,000, which is painful, but doable, that it’s worth it for the next couple years to maintain our ability to offer a pool.
The meeting was continued until 1 p.m. Friday, when the council expects to award a bid and repair can begin.