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Higher construction bids than expected set back Poplarville park upgrades

A project to add a stage and bathroom to Poplarville’s City Square Park may be going back to the drawing board after bids for construction of the project came in $100,000 over budget.

The project is being funded by a $150,000 grant from the Mississippi Development Authority and Landry, Lewis, and Germany Architects have designed a stage and bathroom for the park. However, the lowest bid was well over budget at $249,940, said Architect Christian Landry.

Landry said the bid was significantly higher than anticipated and his best guess for the high bids is that contractors are either not in need of work, may be trying to make up for lost income on other projects or may be having supply chain issues. Landry said he was shocked by the estimates on mechanical costs, which included only two toilets and an electrical panel for $70,000.

Landry said the Board could rebid the project, but with the recent tornadoes his assumption is that there will be less bidders. The Board could also strip down the design by removing components like steps to the stage, sidewalks, or removing the stage roof and rebid the project. The architecture firm could also redesign the stage with a square shape instead of flared walls, which would allow for a pre-engineered metal building frame that would be cheaper to construct, said Landry.

Board member Shirley Wiltshire said she does not want to eliminate the steps from the design, since they are intended to be a place where choirs can stand and sing. The Board rejected the bids and will discuss more options for moving forward with the project in the future. Currently, the grant requires construction of the project to be complete in December 2021, but Mayor Rossie Creel said there is a possibility that deadline could be extended due to COVID-19.