New playground equipment: Berryville council waives bidding on park project

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

New playground equipment is in the works for the Berryville Soccer Complex, and a vote by the city council during its Oct. 5 meeting is expected to make that installation much faster.

The council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance waiving competitive bidding on the recreational playground equipment — including an emergency clause that means the ordinance would take effect immediately.

Mayor Tim McKinney said purchasing this type of equipment, part of a planned $484,987 improvement project, doesn’t readily lend itself to competitive bidding.

Tim Mckinney

“This is the playground equipment at the soccer field that we got a grant for,” McKinney said, “and even the grant people in Little Rock tell you, you can’t bid playground equipment. Every set’s different. So what our engineers did, they solicited proposals from different companies and gave it to us and I had our Parks director pick out which one — within our budget — they liked the best. They were all in a pretty close range.”

The grant the city received is a 50/50 grant, meaning the city will foot half the bill, approximately $242,493.50, for the equipment.

Before the vote, McKinney stressed to the council that the state had no issues with suspending the normal bidding process in this instance.

“Even though it’s a grant, the state doesn’t have a bit of problem with waiving the bid,” McKinney said.

In addition to the playground equipment at the soccer complex, the project also includes bringing City Pool Park into compliance with the American with Disabilities Act, including tying the new restrooms to the rest of the park with ADA-compliant sidewalks.

“It’s served us well, but it’s getting a little bit long in the tooth,” McKinney said in regard to the pool park.

In other business, the council also approved a contract extension amendment with CH2M HILL/Jacobs regarding wastewater treatment plant management and services.

The extension, which runs through December 2023, includes a base fee of $848,361.76 for 2022 and will be adjusted each year.

“The biggest change is that [the contract renewal] is usually four years, and they come back every second or third year and want to renew it,” McKinney said. “That kind of gives them the confidence that they’re going to be in business down there and what they’re investing in it.”

McKinney added that renewing the contract this year will save the city thousands of dollars.

“We’ve got a [consumer price index] that’s about 4.5 percent, but they keep it at 2 percent,” McKinney said. “We’ve been very happy with them as far as the operation. The only thing the contract changes is that next year, it adds 2 percent and then it changes the expiration date.”

McKinney said he was very happy with the terms of the new contract.

“They could have hit us for that 4.5 percent this year, but they just went with 2,” McKinney said. “They showed me on paper what their actual costs are. I thought that with inflation and that CPI, 2 percent next year is a pretty good deal.”

McKinney also issued a pair of proclamations recognizing community groups.

The first, issued in honor of the Friends of the Berryville Library, proclaims Oct. 17-23 as Friends of Libraries week, coinciding with the national Friends of Libraries week.

In his proclamation, McKinney praises the local library group for its fundraising efforts that enable “our library to move from good to great — providing the resources for additional programming, much needed equipment, support for children’s summer reading programs, and special events throughout the year,” and thanks them for “all they do to improve our library and make our community a better place to live.”

The second proclamation was in recognition of the Greater Berryville Area Chamber of Commerce and proclaimed Oct. 18-22 as Chamber of Commerce Week to coincide with the chamber’s annual banquet on Oct. 21.

In the proclamation. McKinney praises the chamber for its efforts in working with “businesses, nonprofits, banks, industry and merchants to advance the civic, economic, professional and cultural life of the City of Berryville,” and recognizes its long history in the community.

According to Dean Lee, executive director of the Berryville chamber, the group has been in existence for more than a century, originally forming in May 1920 as a “commercial club.”

The council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 19, at Berryville City Hall.

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