Park board members Thursday evening discussed whether or not to invest in contracting the construction of playground equipment for the all-abilities park, which is currently under construction near Lions Lake.

Julie Straatmann, a member of the Washington Jaycees, asked if the board would consider requesting that a company install the equipment, rather than the city, in order to have it completed sooner.

Darren Dunkle, parks director, said a company could have the equipment completed in three to four weeks, depending on weather. Because the city staff also has other work, it could take several months to complete the work.

There has been about $90,000 in savings through lower prices on the equipment purchase and a lower than estimated cost for concrete/asphalt work, Dunkle said, but park board members questioned spending the money since winter is so close.

Estimates to install the equipment have averaged just over the $90,000 mark, Dunkle said.

He added that liability and warranty could factor into who does the work as well.

The board asked Dunkle to look into the various scenarios before moving forward with a recommendation.

Project Update

Dunkle also gave an update on the project during the meeting.

The city has been working for the past several months on site grading, as well as the installation of drain inlets and storm sewer piping, a retaining wall and other preliminary work.

The city council approved the purchase of the equipment earlier this year.

The parks department received two bids for concrete work for the park, including sidewalks, curb and gutters, the concrete pad that sits underneath the playground, asphalt work and signage.

Bids were from KJ Unnerstall, $192,668 plus $7,332 contingency; and Lakebrink Construction, $300,113. The contractor’s estimate for the work was $256,743.

The park board voted to recommend that the city council accept the bid from KJ Unnerstall for $200,000.

The vote was 5-0. Chan-tell Unnerstall, a park board member, abstained from the vote. Voting members Karen Maniaci and Tessie Steffens were not present. Dave Wehmeyer also was not present, but is a nonvoting board member.

The bids will be presented at Monday night’s city council meeting.