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Golf course water project develops slight snag

By Bruce Justice (Mingo Messenger) Sept 24, 2021

A waterline extension project four years in development for the Twisted Gun Golf Course hit a slight snag after the bidding process for construction was recently finalized.

During the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority’s regular meeting last Thursday held via phone conference, Executive Director Leasha Johnson informed the board that the bidding process for the waterline extension’s construction had been completed, with seven contractors having submitted bids.

She said the low bid for the job came in at around $1.5 million for the construction of the waterline, the booster station, and the water tank.

Johnson pointed out the original construction budget was set at a little lower at $1.37 million.

However, she said the difference in actual construction costs could be made up by some unused funds in other line items for this specific project that had been over budgeted for legal and administrative fees, land acquisition funding, and other miscellaneous items.

Having enough money to cover construction costs, however, represented the good news, Johnson added. “We’re going to be able to cover the construction costs of this project, with about $25,000 to spare, but we will be short of the amount that’s needed for contingency,” she said. “The EDA (West Virginia Economic Development Authority) and the engineers typically prefer to reserve no less than seven percent for construction contingency…in this case they’re recommending that we allow $100,000 worth of contingency for this project.” Johnson said the project has been in development for four years and that the EDA is pushing for its start. Because project engineers believe rebidding the job would run the risk of even higher bids and overall construction costs due to the price of materials consistently becoming more expensive, she said E L Robinson is also strongly recommending going forward with construction. Johnson said she agrees with the recommendation of not rebidding the project for the reasons given by E L Robinson and that her office would be working over the next week or two to try and find another funding option to make up the additional $75,000 contingency funding. She said a determining factor in the MCRA’s decision four years ago to take on the project was that the golf course adds to the area’s attractions as well as aids in the region’s goal of economic diversification through tourism. “The reason we applied for this grant four years ago is because a private sector wouldn’t have been eligible for this money, and so while we owned the golf course it presented us a unique opportunity for us to get grant money to put infrastructure to the golf course,” Johnson said. “And that was basically what precipitated our decision to pursue that grant funding while we still owned it.”

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