Center de la nature project encounters difficulties with construction bids | News, Sports, Jobs

The contract award process for the construction of the new Webster County Nature Conservancy Center is on hold as discussions are ongoing about whether to change plans for the project or return it to competitive bidding.

Webster County Director of Conservation Matt Cosgrove told the Webster County Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday meeting that two bids were received to build the project last week. The first bid was for $6,990,000 from Kolacia Construction and the second was for $8,195,000 from Jensen Builders Ltd., both of Fort Dodge.

“The engineer’s initial estimate in December of last year was $5.5 million,” Cosgrove said.

Cosgrove asked supervisors to delay awarding a contract for the project until June 7.

“This project is one of four quality of life projects, and when one project goes over (budget), it could impact the other three, so I think collectively we just need to have some conversations about how to proceed or reapply for this project,” he said.

The supervisors agreed to postpone the contract award to June 7th.

Webster County Sheriff Luke Fleener has received Board of Supervisors approval to purchase a 2022 Ford Police Explorer from Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota for $36,918. The vehicle will be added to the patrol division to replace an older patrol vehicle, the sheriff said.

Supervisors also approved the reassignment of two abandoned properties to their neighbor, Mike Kraft. Kraft has applied to purchase these two properties as part of a tax sale. The properties, located near the intersection of Southwest 17th Street and Midway Lane in Fort Dodge, are currently owned by Duane Carlson, of Grimes. According to Webster County Assessor’s records, property taxes have not been paid on both properties since 2013.

Kraft showed the council some photos of the two properties to illustrate the problem.

“Here, there is a pile of brush, trash and debris that has been accumulating there since 2017, and it continues to accumulate every year,” he said. “There’s another retaining wall that just hasn’t been maintained and it’s more or less a hazard to someone walking on the sidewalk.”

Kraft also showed a group of trees that have begun to fall on the property, including one that could threaten a nearby home if it falls.

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