DHM Design will design the park being built on the south side of Cortez.
The Cortez City Council approved a $92,753 contract to design the park in a 6-1 vote during its regular meeting Tuesday, with Councilor Gary Noyes the lone dissenter.
Durango-based consulting company DHM Design was low bidder, outbidding Connect One Design and Davis Engineering Service.
The two lowest bidders – DHM Design and Connect One Design – were interviewed by a committee composed of city staff members, according to Parks and Recreation Director Dean Palmquist.
“After interviewing each team of consultants, the selection committee discussed pros and cons of each team of consultants and gave their input with a consensus reached the same day,” Palmquist said.
Now that the contract has been awarded, design work is scheduled to begin mid-July, Palmquist said. The services will be paid for using two funding streams: $50,000 from Great Outdoors Colorado grant funds and $42,753 from the Conservation Trust Fund.
The 11-acre park will be built at the site of the demolished Montezuma-Cortez High School, on West Seventh Street. The park will fill a community need, according to city staff – right now, all large city parks and municipal green spaces in Cortez are on the north side of Main Street, or U.S. Highway 160, leaving south side residents with fewer accessible and affordable recreation opportunities.
The park is expected to include a concrete outer walking path, a shaded tree area with lawn games, two playgrounds, sports fields, skate park, a few BMX bike parks, a challenge course and a misting wall.
The entire project is projected to cost around $4 million and take about six years to complete, Palmquist said.
At Tuesday’s meeting, councilors and city staff members voiced some concerns and clarifying questions about park funding.
“Is this (contract) contingent upon receiving funding?” asked City Attorney Mike Green.
Palmquist replied that the contract was tied to a $350,000 GOCO grant the city was awarded in March. The city must submit progress reports to receive the money, but Palmquist said the grant had already been awarded specifically for the park.
The city’s recent audit delays held up allocations from the Conservation Trust Fund, he said. Conservation Trust Fund dollars are distributed annually to eligible Colorado municipalities on a per capita basis.
“As soon as we get the audits submitted to the Department of Local Affairs, we then will receive that money,” Palmquist said.
He added the city would still be able to pay for the project even without the audits submitted. Originally, the city planned to be further along on the project, and had budgeted extra general fund dollars for it this year, although the money would be paying for a different stage of the work.
“We did budget general fund monies for this project, which exceed what we have – we’re requesting right now,” he said. “It would be robbing Peter to pay Paul, but we have that budgeted in the budget right now.”
When asked by Councilor Ty Keel, Palmquist clarified that the city would pay for services out of the general fund, and be reimbursed by the grant funds.
In terms of design timeline, Palmquist said consultants anticipate that 30% of the design will be finished in the latter half of August, which will provide most of the base cost estimates. By the beginning of November, 90% of the design work should be finished.
The design plans and more specific construction details will help the city secure continuing funding, he said, including for a Colorado Health Foundation grant the city will apply for in October.
“By getting these more exact numbers, it helps give you stronger applications for your grants,” Palmquist said.