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W’bago council stunned at cost of new bathhouse for campground

By Staff | Mar 18, 2012

Scott Robertson

Winnebago City Council members were shocked Tuesday with the cost estimate of a bathhouse in the city’s new campground.

Todd Tetzloff of Wilcon Construction presented the council with plans and specifications of the project carrying a price tag of $100,621.

“The price came out extremely higher than my highest guess,” councilman Rick Johnson says. “I was shocked.”

Council members voted unanimously to send the estimate back to the utility commission where the city could determine potential cost cuts.

“I would like to see if we can cut costs,” councilwoman Stacy Huntington-Scofield says. “When I read $100,000, I felt it was quite extreme.”

Tetzloff explained cuts could be made by the city doing its own work on the project.

“The city could run the sewer, water, do the excavation and the seeding,” he says. “If the city is open to doing some work, we will be willing to take it out of the bid.”

The new bathhouse will be located on the south side of the converted mobile home park and would double as a storm shelter featuring steel doors, frames and a core filled with concrete.

“If you’re going to have a campground, you have to have protection,” councilman Scott Robertson says. “Without this we’re basically not going to have a campground.”

The main benefit of building the bathhouse as proposed would be the minimal amount of maintenance needed. Tetzloff says the building would hardly have to be touched for 50 years after construction.

Cuts made to the overall price of the building would require additional money to maintain the bath house in the future.

“If we do cut a few costs, we will still not save the significant amount of money we are looking for,” councilman Chris Ziegler says. “Maintenance would also be a pain.”

Council members approved purchasing the mobile home park in August with the stipulation the area be turned into a campground. Purchase price of the land will cost $11,500 and City Administrator Austin Bleess says the city should close on the property by Tuesday.

Funding for the project will be provided by using funds from when the city sold their liquor store 10 years ago. Currently, the liquor store fund has a balance of $121,725.

After the expenses of building a bathhouse and purchasing land are taken care of, $9,600 will remain in the fund for fencing, camp fire rings and hook ups.

Bleess says no tax dollars will be used for the project.

In other business the council:

Approved the plans and specifications for the First Avenue Southeast reconstruction project. City Engineer Wes Brown says the bidding process will now be open until April 9.

Bleess says a bid will be awarded for the project at the next city council meeting.

After completing further research on the project, Brown says total cost estimates have increased.

Originally, the four block reconstruction was slated to cost $1.43 million, but now the price has risen to $1.55 million.

Brown credits this increase to the discovery of poor soil conditions underneath the street potentially causing heaving issues.

Construction on the project could begin in early May and is scheduled to be completed by the middle of September.

No changes will be made to the width of the street and only one tree will be taken out to complete the project.