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February 10, 2011 8:42 am

Homesteader Park rest area set to open

Written by Tessa Schweigert

Following the review of punch lists from the mechanical and electrical engineers, the new Homesteader Park rest area is slated to open to the public next week. Landscaping will be completed when the weather warms up this spring. Following the review of punch lists from the mechanical and electrical engineers, the new Homesteader Park rest area is slated to open to the public next week. Landscaping will be completed when the weather warms up this spring. Tribune photo by Kara Bacon

After a string of delays over several months, the new Homesteader rest area at Powell’s east entrance is slated to open next week.

Part of a $2 million renovation project encompassing 10 acres of Homesteader Park, the glass-enclosed rest area is nearing substantial completion, said City Administrator Zane Logan on Monday. The project is funded largely through federal stimulus money, as well as funds from the city and state.

Originally, the 2,600-square-foot building was scheduled for an October completion.

“We’re way behind,” Logan told Powell City Councilmen Monday night. “The only good thing is the time of year.”

Many rest areas close in the winter, and the building wouldn’t have seen much traffic from October to February, Logan noted.

“Even if it was completed in mid to the end of October, it would have had very little use until the spring anyway,” said City Engineer Sean Christensen.

The general contractor for the project, CK Construction of Rock Springs, encountered multiple problems with subcontractors and manufacturers, Logan said.

In a December e-mail to the city of Powell, CK Construction Project Manager Vonn Davis wrote, “we have had some major problems with subs going out of business, then (they) string us along with promises that they were going to complete their work, and not following through …”

Davis said he appreciated the city staff’s patience “as you have watched us struggle through one subcontractor after another.”

“I have never in my career had this many bad or poor subs on one job at the same time,” Davis wrote. He said in later e-mail correspondence with the Tribune that CK Construction had never worked with the subcontractors who were problematic.

“We had made calls to the references that they gave us before they were selected,” Davis wrote.

Davis did not mention any subcontractors by name, but Park County District Court records show Big Horn Redi-Mix is suing one of the subcontractors, MKM Construction of Laurel, Mont., for allegedly failing to pay for $74,635 worth of concrete for the rest area project. CK Construction also is named as a defendant, with Big Horn Redi-Mix alleging CK Construction is responsible for their subcontractor’s bill.

In his correspondence with the Tribune, Davis said other than the trouble with some of the subcontractors, it was “a great project for CK.”

“We have made some good contacts with other subcontractors in the Powell area that we would love to team with on a future project,” Davis said. “I have enjoyed this project and the people from the city that I have associated with — they are a group of honest, fair and levelheaded people that I would recommend to anyone to work with or that I would work with again in an instant.”

Considering the issues the general contractor encountered and the fact that the building wasn’t in demand during winter months, Logan said the city isn’t planning to pursue liquidated damages or a penalty in the contract.

“It’s hard to fault the general contractor,” Logan said. “Ultimately, it didn’t cost us anything more, simply because of the time of year.”

Had the city expected completion by the end of May rather than the end of October, it would have been a completely different scenario, given the demand for rest areas in summer months, Logan said.

On Monday, Logan told the Powell City Council that CK Construction faced several factors beyond its control, and he said he didn’t see how the city could argue that it was greatly affected by the project opening in February rather than the end of October.

Christensen said the project remained on budget, and aside from the delays, he is pleased with how the rest area turned out.

As originally planned, landscaping and planting will be completed this spring when the weather is warm enough.

The Homesteader project spans more than 10 acres and includes picnic structures, walking paths, renovations to the park’s east-end road system, irrigation, landscaping, new RV areas, parking lots and exterior lighting.

The entire project has an estimated $2-million price tag. Most of that — $1.3 million — was covered by federal stimulus money. Another $200,000 will come from the Wyoming Department of Transportation through the federal Transportation Enhancement Activities–Local (TEAL). The city was required to provide $50,000 in matching funds for the TEAL money.

The remaining money for the Homesteader project — around $500,000 — came out of reserve money from the city’s 2010-11 budget.

The old rest area at Homesteader, built about 40 years ago, was demolished last spring and construction on the new facility began shortly after that.

The Homesteader Park renovations and rest area join several other projects on the east end of town. In the past few years, developments have included the new Powell Aquatic Center, a new Powell High School, a new city waterline along Panther Boulevard (formerly Road 8) and the five-lane expansion of a stretch of U.S. 14-A near Homesteader Park.

2 comments

  • Comment Link February 10, 2011 8:55 am posted by Salty Dawg

    $2,000,000.00 for a white elephant...gee what a deal.

  • Comment Link February 10, 2011 4:25 pm posted by not a builder

    No, it's not CK Construction's fault. How would they know the subcontractors in the area? They're from Rock Springs. If they had hired a local contractor with existing relationships with local subcontractors, I suspect some of those problems wouldn't have been problems. But I'm glad we were able to prop up Rock Spring's construction industry.

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