Mount Airy firm chosen to build Dobson Park

By Keith Strange

June 26, 2014

DOBSON — A Mount Airy company has been tapped to build the $1 million Dobson Square Park.

Following a bid opening Thursday afternoon, the town’s board of commissioners unanimously voted to award the contract to Simcon Construction, which came in as the low bidder with a base bid of $858,400.

During the meeting, Town Manager Josh Smith said that between the bid opening and the start of the 6 p.m., meeting, he did a little research on the newly-formed company, which is made up of former employees of J.S. Clark Construction.

“They’re a fairly new company, but they aren’t new to the business,” Smith told the board. “I checked around after receiving the bids, and couldn’t find any issues or complaints regarding the company. There is nothing I could find to show that they’re not a responsible bidder or quality contractor.”

Smith told the board that nine companies vied for the job, and the three lowest bidders were all local.

In addition to Simcon, the two other lowest bids were from Mount Airy’s J.G. Coram Inc., ($919,500) and Pilot Mountain-based Garanco Inc. ($948,600).

The highest bid came from Greensboro-based S&S Building and Development, which put a $1,113,000 price tag on the project.

Both Smith and project architect Jeff Johnson told the board they were lucky to have numerous low bids from local companies.

“The base bids ranged from $858,400 to $1.1 million,” Johnson said. “And the nice thing about this is the three lowest bids were all local companies. We were very pleased with that.”

The 2.2-acre park is planned for the intersection of South Crutchfield and West Atkins streets. It is expected to house an interactive fountain, splash pad, playground and walking trails.

The town manager noted that the town has secured a grant worth $498,000 from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, which is expected to cover about half the construction costs for the park.

Simcon projects the park can be completed within four months of shovels going into the ground, a time-line Johnson said was “not bad.”

When that date will be depends on a variety of factors, Smith said, including finding out whether the town is going to finance a portion of the project or take the money out of savings.

“We have the money in the bank,” he told the board, “but I’d hate to pull that out in case an emergency comes up and we need it.”

Smith said state regulations mandate approval from the Local Government Commission if a certain percentage is financed.

“The biggest decision facing this board, short of selecting a contractor, will be financing and whether or not we have to go before the Local Government Commission for approval. If we do, that will delay the process a bit.”

He told the board he would be calling the Commission Friday to get a little more information.

“If we decide to finance the remainder of the project, we may have to call a special meeting to pass resolutions authorizing the financing,” Smith said. “But my recommendation to the board is if you feel comfortable accepting a bid tonight, you can do that and it will allow us to start drawing up the contracts.”

He noted that worst-case scenario could put shovels in the ground sometime mid-to-late August.

“We could start as soon as mid-July,” Smith said. “It’s a matter of getting all the administrative things like contracts in place.”

Following Smith’s recommendation, the board selected Simcon on a motion by Commissioner John Lawson, with a second by Commissioner Todd Dockery.

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter @strangereporter.