February 8, 2024 |

Photo – Drawing of Never Forget Park – Bigfoot99 file photo

Plans for Saratoga’s Never Forget Park must be scaled back due to financial constraints.

For the past 16 years, the town of Saratoga has pursued various plans of building a park in honor of fallen veteran Staff Sargeant Tyler Pickett. Higher than expected construction costs have caused the scope of the project to be reduced.

In early January, the town was finally ready to request contractor bids to begin phase one of Never Forget Park: installing curbs, gutters, and sidewalks.

During Tuesday’s Saratoga town council meeting, Public Works Director Emery Penner said he received the contractor bids. Penner said the lowest bid was $100,000 higher than expected. The public works director said the Never Forget Park committee has decided to reduce the scale of the project to lower costs.

Penner said the Never Forget Park lawn must get smaller. The public works director said sidewalks are also out of the question.

Mayor Chuck Davis said a representative from WLC Engineering, the firm designing Never Forget Park, suggested the town not accept any of the bids. Mayor Davis said Saratoga isn’t the only municipality being affected by inflation.

Penner said all sidewalks and most of the curbs need to be removed from phase one of the project. The second bidding process would basically request a contractor to only grade the parking area. Councilman Jerry Fluty asked if town employees could handle leveling the parking lot, leaving enough money for a contractor to install the sidewalks. Mayor Davis said the streets department is too busy to put that much work into Never Forget Park.

Never Forget Park Committee member Stacy Crimmins said the board approves of the smaller space if it means the park is finally built. Crimmins said less grass means easier vehicle access and a fence will serve to keep cars off the lawn.

Mayor Davis said he thinks reducing the scope of the project and going back out for bids is the best way forward. Penner said WLC Engineering would charge the town another $7,900 to redesign the park and solicit contractor bids again.

The Saratoga town council voted to reject the existing bids, pay to redesign Never Forget Park, and go out for bids once again.

A Saratoga business, Bridge Street Bargains, is raising money for the Never Forget Park. From now until May 31st, Bridge Street Bargains will match every dollar donated to the project, up to $10,000.

For more information, email the Never Forget Park committee members at info@neverforgetpark.com or visit www.neverforgetpark.com.

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