Park Board Plans to Continue w/Workman Complex


Published on July 2 2014 4:11 pm
Last Updated on July 3 2014 4:00 am
Written by Greg Sapp

Effingham Park Board President Dave McDevitt was adamant at Wednesday night's Board meeting; the plan is to press ahead with the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Complex.

McDevitt told other park commissioners that negotiations are underway with the low bidder on the project, Poettker Construction of Breese, on ways to reduce the project cost. The wind was taken out of the sails of those promoting the project when bids came in well over the $12.5 million estimated cost. Poettker was the low bidder at $16,342,000. Another lower bid was submitted after the deadline and McDevitt said the bid will not be considered.

McDevitt said discussions have involved substitutions in the materials to be used and changes in the mechanical system to be installed. As an example, he said Poettker bid the "Cadillac" HVAC system; now, the parties are looking at a different model. As far as removing courts or pools to lower the cost, McDevitt simply said, "We're not gonna do it."  

Here's News Director Greg Sapp's conversation with Dave McDevitt after Wednesday night's meeting...

McDevitt said supporters have been encouraged by those who have already pledged funds toward the project, who have said to proceed with the work. That includes Dr. Rick Workman, for whom the complex is to be named, who told McDevitt earlier Wednesday, "This is going to be a 50-year front porch of Effingham project; we need to get this done." Workman and wife Angie have already pledged $5 million toward the cost of the complex.

McDevitt said additional fundraising is one way to deal with the higher cost; another is their efforts to lower costs; he also acknowledged that the Park District would be approaching the Effingham City Council for funding help. He said that City officials are aware that they'll be in touch.

As to the timeframe, if the financial issues can be resolved, McDevitt hopes the Board could vote to award the bid at their August meeting, which would take place the day before the bid expires. He said that would only be a month later than hoped and would still allow the project to be completed in September 2015.

Just for the record, here are the bids received on the Workman Complex project:

Poettker Construction--$16,342,000

Grunloh Construction--$16,542,000

Plocher Construction--$16,830,000

River City Construction--$16,911,000

Swingler Construction--$17,226,085

Shores Builders--$18,260,000


*the bid of Grunloh Builders was $16,019,056, but was submitted shortly after the deadline so was not considered

In other business, the Park Board reviewed the Appropriations Ordinance for the new fiscal year. The measure is about the same as last year, with the exception of any funding for the Workman Complex. The plan is to issue general obligation bonds to pay for the balance of the Workman Complex cost, part of the bonding the Park District has done annually for the past several years to generate capital for the improvement projects they've undertaken. The District then pays off the bonds over the course of the next year. McDevitt said again last night that taxes will not increase to pay for the Workman Complex.

The Board hired Heath Walker as a fulltime Park District employee at $12/hour.

Commissioners said they're getting good comments from the public as to the appearance of the parks. Commissioner Dennis Carie voiced concerns over the umpiring at the girls softball fields and Park District Director Jeff Althoff said that the issue is being addressed.

McDevitt commended Althoff and Jim Raddatz of the Park District staff for dealing with the Workman project and overseeing the day-to-day operation of the District.