Lone bid for first phase of Chester Willis Field renovations come in substantially over estimate

Published 4:55 pm Monday, May 15, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Only one bidder submitted a proposal for the first phase of construction to improve Chester Willis Field at Liberty Park, and that contractor’s bid came in at about $1.9 million, substantially over the $1.25 million the project was estimated to cost.

Joseph Furr of Joseph Furr Design Studio of Baton Rouge said the project did not generate much interest. However, he has spoken to the sole bidder and studied the bid in detail and thinks it contains room for negotiation, he told the Adams County Board of Supervisors at its meeting Monday.

The board voted to take the bids under advisement until Furr reports back at one it its next two meetings.

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In early March, supervisors approved a multi-million dollar project to renovate Liberty Park’s Chester Willis Field, bringing it to a standard to host not only local high school baseball games, but also traveling showcase tournaments and some junior college and semi-pro league games. The reconfiguring of the field would make it fit within the parameters of Division 1 College regulations, Furr said in March.

The total project, which includes extensive improvements to the ball field itself, including the addition of artificial turf on the infield and natural turf on the outfield area and improved subsurface drainage, rebuilt dugouts, new restrooms and renovations to the grandstand and covered pavilion, was estimated to cost between $2.1 and $2.5 million.

The first phase of the renovation — the work to the ball field itself — was hoped to begin in May. Furr said it is possible, if the negotiations with the lone bidder are successful, that work could still be completed in time to play ball in February 2024.