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Marble Falls EDC approves $4M-plus bid for park upgrades

A 2022 rendering of a pedestrian bridge connecting Lakeside and Johnson parks. The Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. Board of Directors approved a $4.2 million bid on June 5 for park improvements. Courtesy illustration

Marble Falls is moving forward with user-friendly improvements to Johnson and Lakeside parks after several years of planning. The Economic Development Corp. Board of Directors on June 5 approved a bid from Wimberley-based contractor Myers Concrete Construction.

The bid was originally brought to the EDC at $4.6 million, but the board ultimately decided to approve it at a figure not to exceed $4.2 million. EDC directors and officials will meet with Myers Concrete representatives over the following weeks to see where additional cost savings can be created through “value engineering,” a systemic approach to finding the cheapest way to complete a project without sacrificing functionality.

“The dollar amount was kind of a swag,” EDC Executive Director Christian Fletcher told DailyTrib.com. “We think we can save 10 percent on (the improvements) through value engineering. That’s what took it from $4.6 million and change down to $4.2 million.”

The vote on the bid was 5-1 with Director Ryan Nashdissenting. He said he wanted more information about the scope of work and the park project’s overall cost. 

“I disagree with the methodology,” he said at the meeting.

Myers Concrete’s initial bid was $18 million for the entire park project when presented to the EDC board in November 2023. Directors decided to divide upgrades into sub-phases and try to whittle down the cost.

Plans for the first phase include a pedestrian bridge over Backbone Creek linking Johnson and Lakeside parks, another bridge connecting Lakeside Park with downtown businesses, lights on the west side of the U.S. 281 bridge, a babbling brook between Lakeside Park and Hidden Falls Inn, and a pavilion.

“We’ve focused on enhancing the quality of life that can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike for generations,” Fletcher said. “These are generational investments in our park infrastructure. They’re designed to make our parks system better for everybody.”

BOARDWALK ON HOLD

A proposed boardwalk stretching from Lakeside Park to the old powerhouse on the lake was cut out of the bid following months of unsuccessful attempts to lower its projected cost.

“The most expensive part of the project is the boardwalk itself and having to drill piers,” Fletcher said. “I think there are 39 piers that would have to be drilled into the bedrock of Lake Marble Falls to accommodate the boardwalk. We focused most of the value engineering on trying to get the boardwalk cost down.

“We did get it down some, but it still wasn’t palatable,” he continued.

The EDC could revisit the boardwalk after some tweaks.

“The cost stems from the design that we currently have,” Fletcher said. “We’re going to go back with StanTec (the EDC’s engineering consulting firm) and explore some alternative design options on the boardwalk.”

Director John Packer was doubtful.

“I don’t ever see us doing a boardwalk where there’s a big area with a big gathering area in the middle,” he said during the meeting. “It’s too cost-prohibitive.”

Instead, the former three-term mayor pitched a different idea.

“I think there’s got to be a way to do a 5-foot-wide trail (along the shoreline),” he said. “It sounds fairly reasonable.”

Other costs, such as the pedestrian bridge over Backbone Creek, were easier for officials to stomach.

“That is a much more straightforward project,” Fletcher said. “We were a lot closer to budget on that one.”

Marble Falls EDC board President Steve Reitz was absent from the June 5 meeting.

nathan@thepicayune.com

1 thought on “Marble Falls EDC approves $4M-plus bid for park upgrades

  1. Think a side walk crossing the bridge down by MO JOES coffee shop on HWY 281 is a better idea . Then finish side walk up the side where sonic ,TSC and the rest of the stores on that side all the way to Walgreens. Before some one gets hit and killed .

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