The Missoula Skatepark project has run into a bump in the road, but according to Missoula Skatepark Association president Chris Bacon, it’s nothing they can’t ollie.
“We’re definitely still moving forward,” Bacon said Tuesday.
Tod Gass, redevelopment project coordinator for the Missoula Redevelopment Agency, said the MRA planned to reject a construction bid at its Wednesday meeting. The one bid the agency received on the estimated $500,000 skatepark project—slated for construction at McCormick Park near the Orange Street bridge—totaled $866,955. So it doesn’t look like the city will break ground on a concrete skatepark this fall, as everyone involved in the project had hoped, but Bacon says the project is still a go.
“It’s a little bit of a bummer that we can’t have more going on with the park this fall to carry that excitement throughout the winter,” Bacon said. “That’s really the biggest thing we’ve lost: people being excited about it as they drive by and see that it is happening.”
Gass said the reason the bid came in so high is that the two skatepark construction companies qualified to build the park—Grindeline Skateparks of Seattle, Wash., and Dreamland Skateparks of Lincoln City, Ore.—both maxed out on their bonding capacity due to other skatepark projects currently under construction.
“When they couldn’t bid the project, we opened up the bidding to general contractors on the condition that they use Grindline or Dreamland as subcontractors,” said Gass.
Bacon and Gass both say the problem is one of timing, not cost.
“It’s just a timing issue,” Bacon said. “It’s not that [skatepark designer Grindline] can’t do our park or misinformed us on costs. [Grindline and Dreamland] just couldn’t bond it because they are both doing three parks at a time and that’s about all they can bond.”
Gass said the skatepark project team will “restrategize” and find a way to bid the project in phases, which will make it easier for the two pre-qualified skatepark construction firms to bid.