Delridge Skate Park Construction Contract: Re-bid so disqualified contractor is qualified?

Here is the text of an email I sent today in reaction the notice Matt Johnston posted about the construction contract for the Delridge Skate Park.

The email was sent to Kevin Stoops (kevin.stoops@seattle.gov).

Dear Mr. Stoops,

This email references the information summarized by Matt Johnston in this http://seattleskateparks.org/?p=1128 post.

I am a neighbor to the skate park site. I’m not a skater, nor do I have children who are. I’m writing you because I’m concerned that the selection of the construction contractor seems to be headed toward selecting an unsatisfactory construction contractor.

The Delridge neighborhood has been supportive, even active, in helping to move this park forward. Part of our concern has been that the park should be designed and built to be a long-lasting, excellent city feature so that skaters will take pride in it and help maintain it, and so it’s not an eyesore for the neighbors and other park users. The design is excellent and reflects the broadest spectrum of community consensus I believe you’ve had in any skate project. The public meetings were without rancor and the process has been smooth—at least with regard to the community.

Part of our willingness to support the project was based on the Parks Department assurance that the specifications for the construction contract would ^be written to solicit reasonable submissions from well-qualified contractors—not just cheap. That only contractors with extensive experience and good reputations building skate parks would be considered.

I was dismayed at first that a contractor with a poor reputation for quality work had been selected. Now that he has been disqualified, I am given to understand that instead of awarding it to the next best proposal, you are considering rewriting the RFQ with lesser standards.

If the specifications are changed in mid-stream to include the disqualified contract, then I’m dumbfounded. How is this different from simply awarding it to a contractor without going to bid? How is that fair to the other respondents? How would that satisfy the promise the Parks Department made to us to build the best skate park possible?

I urge you to reconsider. I’m sure you have only the best interest of the budget in mind, but a contract that seems cheap up front can end up costing far more in the long run. This will be a major city feature for many years. I will have to leave live across the street from it. Let’s make it something that we’re all proud of. I don’t want to regret encouraging my neighbors to support the park and process.

Regards,
Nancy Folsom
Member of the North Delridge Neighborhood Council

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