County approves Grams Park bid

Managing Editor

by Jim Boyle
The Sherburne County Board of Commissioners on Aug. 1 selected Veit & Company, of Rogers, to complete phase 1 of planned improvements at Grams Park Regional Park in Zimmerman.

Image courtesy of Damon Farber
The Sherburne County Board has approved Veit & Company to build the first phase of improvements to Grams Regional Park in Zimmerman.

The project will improve the existing trails and install boardwalks through wetland areas of the park for $662,162.

The county had estimated the work would cost $700,903. Veit had the lowest bid of five bids; the highest bid was nearly $1.5 million.

Sherburne County’s Public Works Director Andrew Witter told the board before the 5-0 vote he was very excited to see this project hopefully move forward.

The trails will be an improved gravel and could be upgraded to paved trails in a future phase.

“It’s not necessarily Class 5 limestone you see,” he said “It’s a little more course and doesn’t have the fine sand you have in Class 5.”

The county in its bidding process had considered two styles of support piers, one a timber pile with an estimated lifespan of 30-40 years.

Witter said the timber pile is sufficient, but county officials and park designers wanted to see what prices it could get on a helical pile that uses a galvanized steel that is screwed into the ground, but that bid alternate came in at $267,000 more than the timber pile so the decision was to pass on it.

The trails, boardwalk and overlook will be fully ADA compliant, Witter said.

“It has been awhile since we have seen major improvement to our park system,” Witter noted.

The parks, trails and outdoor living plan for Grams grew out of a survey. “The community is interested in hiking natural areas, places to get out and about to enjoy the wildlife,” Witter said.

County Board Member Felix Schmiesing asked for clarification on the grand plan for county parks.

The county currently has a master plan that calls for improvements to spur activity at Grams Park and Islandview Park.

Witter, the relatively new public works director, said he has some thoughts and ideas but had not yet talked with County Board about them. Discussions about parks, however, were expected to be part of this year’s budgeting process in August and September for the 2018 budget.

Schmiesing said he’s not trying to pit one district park against another, because he knows the county needs to have a plan “so we don’t do a little all over and end up with nothing.”

County Administrator Steve Taylor said the county has a five-year parks plan, which includes both active parks and passive parks, that was developed by Witter’s predecessor.

“This is not a surprise,” Schmiesing said. “I just need to be reminded of the path we’re on.”