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Rec. complex plan to see cuts

VIDALIA — Since bids for Vidalia’s proposed recreation complex came in at approximately $1 million more than hoped, plans for the complex will be restructured.

The City of Vidalia opened seven bids March 31 that ranged from $4.75 million to 5.47 million, with Womack and Sons Construction Group of Harrisonburg placing the lowest bid.

“This is just a bump in the road,” Concordia Recreation District No. 3 Board of Directors Chairman Marc Archer said. “Many of the things we had on our wish list for the complex came in higher than what we expected.”

Archer also said the rising cost of oil is to blame for some of the increase.

“In the last two months oil has gone up tremendously,” he said. “Asphalt is also going up because it is directly affected by the price of oil.”

Archer said the district prepared for the possibility of the bids being too high, and the next step in the process is to work on cutting project costs.

“We are making necessary cuts to the project to get the cost down,” he said. “There are a vast number of things we are going to have to look at.”

Minor changes throughout the complex are going to have to be made to get the project under budget, Archer said.

“We are looking at some options right now,” he said. “If we cut the size of the sidewalks from eight feet wide to six-and-a-half-feet wide we will save $60,000.”

Archer said the district will have to look into a number of factors before they can come up with the final project and accept new bids.

“There are several things that can be cut, but the basic facility will be the same,” he said.

The new complex will include tennis courts, four baseball fields, four softball fields, basketball courts, soccer fields and a number of other features.

Archer said the district is working fast to make cuts on the project so they can start to accept bids again for the complex.

“We are trying to get it out within the next two months,” he said.

“We have to go over the list and the whole process again, and hopefully we can receive a bid that fits the budget.”

Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland said the delay in the project is just a minor hindrance for the complex’s future.

“You just have to hope that things turn out for the better,” he said.

“We still have a tremendous project going on, and I know the (recreation district) is going to make the proper readjustments and get everything back in line.”

Copeland said bids coming in over budget are nothing unusual when it comes to city projects.

“Sometimes you are going to have projects that come over budget more than you are anticipating,” he said. “All you can do from there is re-bid them.”

Despite the setback, Archer said the district is still dead set on getting the best recreation complex for the city.

“We feel 100 percent about it,” he said. “This was just an unfortunate bump in the road.”

Copeland said work on the new complex should begin in mid-summer.

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