Vidalia recreation bid awarded

Published 12:05 am Saturday, June 25, 2011

VIDALIA — After six years of planning, the Concordia Recreation District No. 3 is finally ready to break ground on the City of Vidalia’s new recreation complex.

The district awarded the construction bid Thursday for the new complex to Womack and Sons Construction Group of Harrisonburg, who was the low bidder at $3.45 million.

The district received seven bids ranging from $3.45 million to more than $5 million for construction of the new complex that will feature tennis courts, four baseball fields, four softball fields, basketball courts, soccer fields and a number of other features.

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“We hope to have construction starting within 45 days,” Recreation Board No. 3 Chairman Marc Archer said. “It is finally becoming a reality.”

Original bids for the complex came in too high in April, and the recreation board had to reevaluate their plans in order to bring the costs down for the second round of bidding.

“We basically just had some very minor changes with some of the dirt work, lighting and concession stands,” Archer said. “We saved a lot of money on these changes.”

On top of the approximately 50 minor changes, Archer said the City of Vidalia is planning to pay for part of the roadway in the new complex, alleviating those costs from the recreation board.

Archer said the complex will cost approximately $6.5 million, and the recreation district is paying approximately $4.8 million of the costs.

“We have saved $1.6 million for the project, and we are going to borrow $3.2 million in bonds,” he said. “That is how we are going to fund it.”

Archer said Vidalia will be responsible for funding the remaining portions of the project.

“The city is helping us with some infrastructure and roadways,” he said. “They are saving us some money so we can make this project doable.”

Archer said a lot of hard work went into planning and funding the project, especially since the recreation district decided to fund the complex without raising taxes.

“Our whole goal was to make this happen without raising taxes, and it has been a tough goal to reach,” he said. “It would have been easy to suggest a raise in taxes to pay for the project, but we made it happen without it.”

With the plans moving forward, Archer said he and the recreation district are excited to begin construction on the complex.

“It feels good to know things are getting started,” he said. “But I will let you know how good it really feels when the whole project is complete.”

Archer said once construction begins, the complex should take approximately a year to finish.