Wednesday, November 22, 2017
News Roundup

Pasco's SunWest Park delayed as county rejects bids

RECOMMENDED READING


NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco commissioners on Tuesday threw out a contractor's bid to build the SunWest Park in Aripeka because it came in too high, but the work might still proceed this spring under a budget-saving plan involving Harbourtowne developer Gary Grubbs.

Commission Chairman Jack Mariano and county staffers said that Grubbs has volunteered to grade areas around the park, including near the lake to create a beach — work that could potentially save the county about $1 million.

County Administrator Michele Baker said the board will sign an agreement with Grubbs to perform the work after the next board meeting in two weeks. After that, the county will rebid the park project, but without the grading portion.

Baker said the grading work, which involves scooping material from the lake bed, just past the water's edge, might have proved too costly and discouraged some builders from submitting bids.

Only one contractor, David Nelson Construction, submitted a bid that met the project's qualifications, but it was thrown out after it exceeded the project's $4.5 million budget by $2.3 million.

Baker said she hopes that reducing the scope and size of the project will attract more bidders and bring the price tag more in line with what the county wants to spend.

"We have no problem finding contractors to build parks," she said. "It's the grading portion that's the problem."

Mariano, the project's biggest booster on the commission, has pushed to have the park finished by Memorial Day weekend, but with these latest setbacks, that is looking less likely.

"I'm still hoping for Memorial Day, but if not then by July 4," he said.

Bidding and selecting a new contractor will take 30 to 45 days. Grubbs wouldn't start work at the site — a former mine — for at least two weeks. Officials said he would need to finish his work before the contractor can step in to complete the park.

In addition to a beach and lake, the facility will include a snack bar, walking trails, 500 parking spaces, 40 beach volleyball courts and a wakeboard device to pull riders through the water. Long-term, county officials hope SunWest Park will host volleyball and wakeboarding competitions.

An agreement with the wakeboard operator is expected to come before the commission next month.

Baker said Grubbs, a miner, is free to collect the dirt to use toward other projects, but he will not receive any compensation. She noted, however, that the park may benefit his planned Harbourtowne resort and home development just to the north.

"I was worried when I first saw the bid," Mariano said. "I wasn't sure what we would do. Then Gary stepped up and said he could get the grading done. I was thrilled."

Rich Shopes can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6236.

Comments
Future of Hernando Beach water tower up in the air

Future of Hernando Beach water tower up in the air

HERNANDO BEACH — Perched high above the coastal neighborhood, the water tower at Hernando Beach has been a unique watchman and highly visible welcome sign for drivers and boaters although it has not held water for years.Now there is some question abo...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Details emerge in suicide of Hernando school volunteer accused of sexual abuse

Details emerge in suicide of Hernando school volunteer accused of sexual abuse

A former Brooksville school volunteer accused of sexually assaulting teenage foreign exchange students who were under his care was found dead last week, a day before he was due in court on the charges.The body of Bruce McAllister was found at the bas...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Pasco students score big at Junior Thespian Festival

Pasco students score big at Junior Thespian Festival

NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco schools brought home 20 top honors from the District 11 Junior Thespian Festival, which included 22 schools from Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Manatee counties and took place at the new River Ridge FAME Academy on Nov. 17 and ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Updated: 1 hour ago

Updated: 1 hour ago
University of Tampa volleyball finds playoff form in time

University of Tampa volleyball finds playoff form in time

TAMPA — Earning an NCAA Tournament bid is usually not cause for celebration with the University of Tampa volleyball program. It has become routine.But after hitting the abyss of a 3-10 record, after players felt their confidence was shot, after coach...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Howard Altman: SS American Victory will host cruise to mark Pearl Harbor Day

Howard Altman: SS American Victory will host cruise to mark Pearl Harbor Day

Looking for a unique way to commemorate Pearl Harbor Day and celebrate the military’s nautical traditions?Check out the SS American Victory, which will set sail Dec. 2. for a two-hour cruise at 1:30 p.m.Registration will begin at noon to ride the car...
Updated: 1 hour ago
TreeUmph! navigates its own obstacle course in opening Brooksville location

TreeUmph! navigates its own obstacle course in opening Brooksville location

BROOKSVILLE — The point behind the adventure park east of Brooksville is for visitors to challenge themselves to overcome obstacles to gain a sense of personal achievement.For the owners of the tree-top adventure course known as TreeUmph!, the road t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Brian Setzer talks about Tom Petty, ‘The Simpsons’ and his third act with holiday music

Brian Setzer talks about Tom Petty, ‘The Simpsons’ and his third act with holiday music

Brian Setzer knows he’s overdue for a trip to Florida. For 13 years, the Grammy-winning rockabilly guitarist and big-band frontman has been packing theaters coast to coast for his annual Christmas Rocks Tour. But somehow, he keeps skipping this area....
Updated: 1 hour ago
SOCom asking rifle makers for single weapon to serve many sniper roles

SOCom asking rifle makers for single weapon to serve many sniper roles

When Ryan Cleckner was an Army Ranger sniper in Afghanistan, he had as many as nine rifles he would use in different situations. But whenever a mission would evolve quickly, he would have to chose which ones to lug onto a helicopter. Even narrowing t...
Updated: 1 hour ago