DDA funds Monroe Center snowmelt system, park


The second stage of renovation of Monument Park, on the far eastern end of Monroe Center on Fulton Street, will cost nearly $425,000. Courtesy DDA

The Downtown Development Authority allocated most of its time — and money — last week to projects on Monroe Center, downtown’s Main Street.

First, the board tried to flush out the ongoing problems with the 15-year-old leaky snowmelt system that runs the length of Monroe Center from Monroe to Division avenues.

“The good news is the testing came back, and the mechanical services in the system are fine,” said City Engineer Mark De Clercq.

But De Clercq said the system’s valves are old and are sticking, and the testing revealed significant deterioration to the piping at the intersection of Ionia Avenue and Monroe Center. “Those are really the two main repairs needed in the system,” he said.

The DDA agreed to hire Van Dyken Mechanical Inc. to make the necessary repairs. Van Dyken came in as the lowest bidder, and the only official bidder, for the repair work with a bid of $99,970. Then the board authorized spending up to $148,700 on the project.

Nearly $23,000 of that amount will go to Geotech Inc. for its design and engineering services on the project. Another $10,000 will be set aside to administer the work, and about $16,000 will go toward contingencies associated with the project.

“We’re comfortable with the contractor,” said De Clercq, who added that Van Dyken is an arm of Grand Valley Automation.

De Clercq said a portion of the system’s tubing may have been damaged during some of the renovation work along Monroe Center over the years. He also indicated the repair work will likely get started after ArtPrize closes next month and be finished before the holiday season is in full swing.

“I can’t guarantee there won’t be more leaks. If there are no leaks, we’ll save money. If there are, we have money to address that,” said De Clercq.

DDA Executive Director Kristopher Larson said the board and the Downtown Improvement District will split the repair cost. The DID provides funding for the operation and maintenance of the two publicly owned downtown snowmelt systems: the one on Monroe Center and the one on the Campau Square Promenade.

Larson said the repair cost was significantly less than expected, but he added that more work will likely need to be done next year. The DDA made eight spot repairs to the system during the last fiscal year.

The DDA also awarded Katerberg-Verhage Inc. the construction contract for the second stage of work to renovate Monument Park, which sits on the far eastern end of Monroe Center on Fulton Street between Division and Sheldon avenues.

The project will involve installing a new concrete sidewalk with brick pavers and a snowmelt system. Landscaping, new benches, a drinking fountain and a handful of other items also are on the to-do list. Katerberg-Verhage was the lowest bidder at $424,253, almost $100,000 lower than the next lowest bid, which came from Georgetown Construction Co.

The DDA allocated $468,000 for the project, with $44,600 of that going to O’Boyle, Cowell, Blalock & Associates for serving as a design consultant. The DDA previously had set aside $175,000 of the total amount, so its latest allocation was actually $293,000.

The first phase of the work is wrapping up. It involved reconstructing Fulton Street from Division to Sheldon avenues and preparing Monument Park for renovation. Lodestar Construction has directed that project, which cost $547,600. The DDA paid $478,600 of the tab and the remaining $69,000 came from the city’s water and sewer systems.

“We’ll come back to you later this fall with a third bid packet,” said Rick DeVries, an engineer with the city.

DeVries said he hoped to have the second-stage work done by Dec. 15.

“We’ll have a temporary walkway through ArtPrize,” he said.

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