On Tuesday, the Cortez City Council approved a bid for planning and design services for a new park on the site of the old Montezuma-Cortez High School.
The city announced its intention to buy the 14-acre site from the RE-1 School District in March, after receiving a Great Outdoors Colorado grant, in order to turn it into the first large park on the south side of town. The sale won’t be finalized until the high school building is demolished this summer, but the council plans to start creating a conceptual design for the park as soon as possible.
In a brief regular meeting on Tuesday, the council awarded the bid to Connect One Design, a company based in Basalt, for $19,260.
Three companies bid for the project before the closing date of May 10. The lowest bidder was the Durango-based DHM Design, with a $15,000 bid, but Parks and Recreation Director Dean Palmquist said he decided Connect One would be a better option after consulting with a selection committee, the companies’ references and former city manager Jay Harrington. Harrington is now the city manager of Carbondale, where one of Connect One’s partners, Heather Henry, serves on the city council.
“(Henry) definitely had a good recommendation from our former city manager,” Palmquist said.
Palmquist said the planning and design process will include four to five public meetings, in which Cortez residents will be able to give input on how they believe the park should look. Connect One would end the process with at least two possible designs and cost estimates for the park.
The city will pay the bid price with $10,250 from the general fund, which will cover public meeting expenses, and $9,010 from the conservation trust fund to cover the design expenses.
Conservation trust funds can be used for project design, but not public meetings, Palmquist said, so the funds needed to be divided.
Some of the conservation funds were originally intended for a new nature-themed playground at City Park, a project the city scrapped after it failed to receive funding through the Montezuma Inspire Coalition.
The council approved the bid award unanimously, with council members Ty Keel and Jill Carlson absent.
“It’s exciting that we’re getting started on this process,” Mayor Karen Sheek said.
The RE-1 School District plans to finish demolishing the old high school building by late summer, according to a Tuesday news release from Superintendent Lori Haukeness.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the council also approved a contract with the Pagosa Springs-based Davis Engineering Service, for up to $50,000, to provide consulting services for the Main Street median project. Public Works Director Phil Johnson said the company’s original bid was for $92,000, but he said his department was able to negotiate it down to the price the council approved at its May 22 meeting.
The council voted 3-2 to approve the contract, with council members Sue Betts and Gary Noyes voting against it. Construction on the medians is scheduled to begin June 18.
Other actionDuring the meeting, the council also:
Awarded an $11,300 bid to ME&E Engineering to provide engineering services for an update to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in the Cortez Service Center data rooms.Awarded a $767,619 bid to D&L Construction for street and waterline improvements on North Dolores Road and East Chestnut Street.Approved the appointment of Tom Butler to the Board of Adjustments and Appeals. Approved a letter of support asking Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to move the Bureau of Land Management’s national offices to Durango.