The Thomaston City Council unanimously approved a bid of $935,128 from Tommy Gibson Builders of Warner Robins for the construction of an amphitheatre/boat storage building and pavilion with attached restrooms at Lake Thomaston Park, and a pavilion with attached restrooms at Park Street Playground. The action came at their August 4 meeting.
Prior to their vote, City Manager Patrick Comiskey advised them that the city received four bids for the project, with Tommy Gibson being the low bid. The other bidders and bids were Headley Construction for $978,000, Renfroe Construction for $999,000, and McLeroy Inc. for $1,100,000.
Comiskey also noted that included in the bid is $50,000 for site and preparation work, and $40,000 for any alterations that the city might decide to do beyond the original scope of work.
The Lake Thomaston Park project came as somewhat of a surprise to residents, who first read about it in their June city newsletter. The city has plans to build a boat storage building with a roof that will double as the stage for an amphitheatre, and a pavilion with restrooms. The city could then rent canoes and small watercraft to visitors, and host band concerts and plays in the amphitheatre.
While the Lake Thomaston Park project has met with unanimous approval of the City Council since the beginning, it has caused a division between city residents, with some believing the city would be better off spending that money on other needs, such as more manpower in the police and fire departments, business retention, or lowering utility bills.
At their July 7 meeting, the council approved spending $600,000 on the two buildings, and another $200,000 on site work, for a total of $800,000.
Following the August 4 meeting, Comiskey answered questions from the local news media concerning the difference in the price approved by the council and the final bid. He noted that the bid also included a pavilion with restrooms at the Park Street Playground, and stated they had projected the cost of the amphitheatre/boat storage building to be $400,000, and the cost of the two pavilion/restrooms to be $200,000 each.
“We did the same footprint for the bathrooms at Park Place as we did for Greatest Generation and Lake Thomaston, with the idea that mirroring those would help to get a better bid price,” Comiskey said. “These buildings will have brick as opposed to what we used at Greatest Generation, with the idea that these buildings should last longer and be less maintenance than non-brick. The two new bathrooms will have pavilions on the sides of them.
“We estimated these three buildings would cost $800,000, so minus the $50,000 for site work and the $40,000 for anything extra, the bid came in $45,000 over what we estimated.”
When asked if he could provide the price specifications on the buildings, Comiskey said he could not.
“I can’t on the buildings, we did them all as a group,” he said. “We won’t know until the contractor will have to do that for us, because he did them all as a package, and he’ll be providing that as we go through the project so we’ll know where to post those payments.”
When questioned about the $200,000 the council had approved for site work at Lake Thomaston, Comiskey stated they have more improvements planned.
“$600,000 was what we projected for the two buildings at Lake Thomaston, and then another $200,000 to do any work out there in addition. We’re also going to do other things down there besides the prep work for the building. We’re hoping to put some docks in there for putting the boats on. That’s something we hope to do within that $200,000.”
The city manager was also asked if the city was considering purchasing the corner lot at Lake Thomaston, on 6th Avenue next to the city water tower. He said they are looking into it.
“We had talked to the previous owner 10 years ago,” he said. “We had approached them again, and we may or may not, that depends on if the owner is interested and is interested in a price that we all can agree on. I would recommend that to the mayor and council. That would give us access to the reservoir property from 6th Avenue, rather than having to put it through the neighborhood. That was something we tried prior to building the reservoir. The funds to purchase that property would come from the water fund.”
Comiskey said later that the city is also looking to replace the water tower next to the lot, and having it for truck staging and access would make it easier to do so.
“That site is the ideal site to do that. We can build one and take the other one down. That tower wasn’t built by the city; it was built by Thomaston Mills; they had two water towers in their system. The problem it is too short and doesn’t integrate into our system, so what will happen probably, anytime after 2018, when it comes time to look at that tower and refurbishing it, we’ll be looking at the option of building a bigger tower that can better integrate into our system.”
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.