Richard Riley, the
booster looking to put a retrofitted boxcar restroom in Thomas Centennial
Park--and a caboose warming/cooling station there as well--wants to pursue
an aggressive timeline on the project.
construction contracts awarded in January; installation in May, in time for
the 2018 season of the European Market.
But government does
tend to move slowly, and there’s a lot of uncertainties yet about the
project, not the least of which is that no boxcar has yet been identified
Those are the
issues which the Chesterton Park Board tried to hash out at its meeting
Riley’s timeline, the board would do the following at its January meeting:
approve site plans and architectural drawing and specifications, currently
being prepared under a not-to-exceed $18,000 contract with Robert Nicksic of
James F. Giannini & Associates; award retrofitting contracts; and obtain a
boxcar and transport it to the work site.
In the meantime,
Riley suggested, the board could right now authorize contractor Mike
Steward--who owns the caboose which would be retrofitted as a
warming/cooling station--to go ahead and start gutting it.
Town Engineer Mark
O’Dell, however, indicated that doing so would put the cart before the
horse, and certainly the caboose in front of the boxcar. For one thing, he
said, the boxcar is the key to the project and the board not only hasn’t
found a suitable one to purchase, it hasn’t even begun the process of
looking for one. And for another thing, the caboose doesn’t yet belong to
the town. “I’d be cautious giving instructions (to gut the caboose) right
now. We don’t own it. Because if the price comes in high, we’re not doing
Stewart, for his
part, ballparked the cleaning and painting of the caboose’s exterior at
$31,500, a sum which includes neither interior work nor transportation to
the site. Stewart did say that he could have a good total number for the
Even so, Member
Paul Shinn said, there’s no point to entering into a contract for the
purchase and retrofit of the caboose until a boxcar has been acquired. “I
think we need both of them before we can pull this together.”
“We may not get a
boxcar until June,” Member Mark Dickinson added. “I don’t know. That
timeline scares me.”
It may not, in
fact, prove especially difficult to find a suitable boxcar, Riley said.
“There are companies that do nothing but broker used boxcars.” The trick,
though, would be to identify one fairly close to home, because while old
boxcars aren’t necessarily that costly, the expense of transporting one any
great distance can be very high.
Riley said that he
would provide O’Dell and Associate Town Attorney Connor Nolan with several
brokers’ contact information.
When and if a
boxcar is identified, Nolan noted, both it and the caboose could be acquired
by means of the “special purchase” language in Indiana Code, which permits a
municipality to issue a single request for proposal for the purchase of a
specific item if that item is a “unique opportunity” which would “not be
available on the open market.”
In the end members
voted unanimously to formally begin the procurement process.
Waskom and Kipper
to be Re-bid
In other business,
members voted unanimously to go out to bid once more for the rehab of Kipper
and Waskom parks, after two sets of bids for the work were rejected by the
board at a special meeting in November.
Both bids came in
significantly higher than the contracted engineer’s original estimates of
$262,000 for Kipper and $539,120 for Waskom.
to open bids at the January meeting and award the contract at the February
meeting--told the board that he and Superintendent Bruce Mathias have been
revising the specifications for the two projects, with an eye to making them
“cleaner and clearer” for contractors.
Among the changes:
the two projects have been combined into one; and contractors will be
required to attend a mandatory meeting prior to submitting their bids.
reported that the new restroom has been installed in Dogwood Park.
Praise for Parks
Member Candy Tucker
took a moment at the end of the meeting to say that the lights and
decorations in Thomas Centennial Park are marvelous, and that the Christmas
tree--donated by the Vidimos Family--looks great. “It’s a nice add-on to the
Mathias and O’Dell and staff for what has proved to be a banner year for the
Park Department, including the installation of new playground equipment at
Dogwood, Chesterton, and Olde Towne parks; the construction of the wildly
popular splash pad; and the replacement of the old restroom at Dogwood Park
with a brand-new one. “I think we accomplished a lot,” Shinn said. “Nice
job, Bruce. A lot of stuff is getting done.”