The City Commission approved a $121,500 construction services contract Thursday with Knoxville’s Lamar Dunn & Associates for the firm’s oversight of construction of Founder’s Park — a project that got under way early this week.
According to the contract, Lamar & Dunn will act as the city’s agent, or representative, and advise and consult city officials during the construction phase of the project. The firm will monitor progress and make sure the work is done in accordance to specifications.
On Oct. 18, the commission day approved the first of eight planned phases of downtown flood mitigation when a $2.8 million bid by Johnson City’s Thomas Construction Co. to build the 5-acre Founder’s Park stormwater/park project won unanimous approval.
Commissioner Ralph Van Brocklin asked Public Works Director Phil Pindzola about the oversight contract amount.
“Most of my concerns have been that we’ve been paying about 1 percent for this service, and this amounts to about 4 percent,” Van Brocklin said, referring to the normal percentage given to Burleson Construction which acts as the city’s agent on numerous projects.
“What’s different about this project is that they (Lamar Dunn) didn’t design the walls and the pedestrian bridge, another company had to do that,” Pindzola said. “We’re also dealing with a project that’s pure slab (concrete), so we don’t know what we’ve got until we get into it. In this case, it’s good to have the architect on hand.”
Pindzola also said the site had some contamination and that the city has had to work with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on this project.
“According to the contract, the contractor has to have someone do testing as the project goes forward, and we need our man there to make adjustments on the fly if needed.”
Van Brocklin then asked Pindzola how close the final cost would compare with the $2.8 million construction price contract price.
“If there is more contamination than we’re aware of, that’s the one that scares me,” Pindzola answered.
The commission voted 3-0 to approve the contract with Lamar Dunn. Vice Mayor Phil Carriger and Commissioner Jane Myron were not present.
Workers with Thomas Construction Co. have started the Founder’s Park project and have begun by removing the old concrete above Brush Creek.
Bill Hughes, the project superintendent, said Wednesday that “We’re just beginning the first phase of construction by peeling the top layers of concrete off and installing a heavy-duty liner to contain the water,” said Bill Hughes, Thomas’ project superintendent. “The water will be diverted from time to time into one of three existing bays, or channels, while work proceeds. The next step will be to construct a sloping seawall through which the water can flow, as well as increasing the amount of water the creek can hold.”
Commissioners also approved a $36,500 design services contract with Lamar Dunn to analyze drainage flow from the Tree Streets neighborhood and to recommend an alternative to controlling water flow in order to minimize flooding in the State of Franklin Corridor.
Mauldin said there are several distinct drainage paths in the area which, for the most part, has a system of catch basins and pipe which carries stormwater to Brush Creek.