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Muskego's Park Arthur West development on hold

July 28, 2014

Muskego — Plans for the often discussed Park Arthur West development remain on hold — at least for the next few weeks — as Muskego's 2015 budget talks loom.

On the heels of a recommendation by the city's Parks and Recreation Board, the common council met Tuesday, July 22. City officials weighed the merits of awarding a contract for a series of construction projects at the green space, which is to be placed near the existing Park Arthur grounds at S63 W17833 College Ave.

City officials on July 10 opened five contractors' sealed bids. Menomonee Falls-based Super Western came in at the low end with an $820,703 bid, while New Berlin-based Veit USA came in at the high end of the spectrum with a $1.15 million quote.

Member of the parks board recommended awarding the contract to Super Western and tacking on an additional $21,972 to undertake berm-related work. The extra task results in a potential total contract of $842,675.

The Muskego Kickers soccer organization, which will use the new grounds, has pledged to contribute an unspecified portion of the funding for the construction work.

The council was sharply divided on next steps. One camp advocated toward moving forward on the construction plans for Park Arthur West, which has been delayed several times.

Another contingent of the council, however, stated a desire to wait until 2015 budget talks got underway.

Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti suggested the council go the latter route, and her wishes were carried through on a 4-3 vote. Chiaverotti argued a postponement would offer a clear understanding of how the full project could be funded.

"It's the responsible thing to do as the council," Chiaverotti said. "Wait a few weeks as we look ahead. You should look at this completely."

Alderwoman Eileen Madden agreed with the wait-and-see approach, particularly as other unrelated projects have come in over budget. Costs associated with Park Arthur West have been about $120,000 beyond original estimates.

"We've been spending a lot of money, and we have to figure out where it's all going to land," Madden said.

But Alderman Robert Wolfe maintained a different perspective. He briefly sparred with Chiaverotti as deliberations on the next steps got underway.

"Are things going to change if we wait?" Wolfe said. "I think we should act now."

The city has been working with engineering firm Graef to select a contractor for the actual construction of the park. Jacqueline Herington, an associate with Graef, was at last week's meeting. She pointed out the bids are locked in for a 90-day period.

Alderman Kevin Kubacki expressed frustration with the ongoing amendments to the anticipated cost of the work in bringing Park Arthur West to fruition.

"We've been over budget throughout this project," Kubacki said. "When does it end?"

Herington said bidding for construction projects has been competitive this year as the economy has improved and work has increased.

"Bidding is up and down all over the place," she said. "It's something we can't control. It's been a very busy year. Some contractors aren't even submitting bids because they're too busy."

According to the city's most recent timeline, Park Arthur West is to be completed by mid-September of 2015.

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