Ice arena moves forward, despite higher costCottage Grove City Council members pushed forward Wednesday with the expansion of the city’s ice arena, awarding four bids despite concerns voiced by some over the still costlier-than-planned project because of an inflexible construction schedule needed to fulfill ice time already sold.
By: Jon Avise, South Washington County Bulletin
Cottage Grove City Council members pushed forward Wednesday with the expansion of the city’s ice arena, awarding four bids despite concerns voiced by some over the still costlier-than-planned project because of an inflexible construction schedule needed to fulfill ice time already sold.
Originally slated to cost $5.9 million, Cottage Grove officials are now working to drop the final price tag to $6.8 million — a task toughened by a number of bids last month that came in higher than expected.
But rather than re-bid the portions of the project with unfavorable bids as suggested by Mayor Sandy Shiely, council members trudged on with the arena expansion, fearing delay of the project could leave young skaters out in the cold come October.
To cut some $200,000 from the project, officials are now pondering additional deductions from the expansion that include leaving locker rooms and corridors unpainted, removing air conditioning from the link between new and existing ice sheets and omitting a paved driveway for public use behind the building.
Also being considered are smaller cuts like the removal of windows from a stairwell and meeting room.
“It’s going to take a lot of windows and a lot of canopies to make up for these bids,” Shiely said.
A re-bid and delay of the project, though, would leave the city unable to meet its already-sold ice time commitments. Cottage Grove’s youth hockey players “won’t have anywhere to play” because the hockey association hasn’t reserved time at other area rinks as in years past, council member Myron Bailey said.
Wednesday’s meeting was at least the third time since last autumn city officials have met to formally discuss possible cuts to the over-budget addition, and council member Fred Luden wanted to know, “when does it stop?”
“If everybody would’ve said this is $6.9, or $7 or $7.1 million when we voted (to approve the expansion),” Luden said, “we probably wouldn’t be here.”