News Flash

Wright County News

Posted on: March 6, 2020

Bertram Chain of Lakes Parks Campsite Project Expected to Finish Ahead of Schedule

Whenever there is a construction project of any kind, one of the biggest fears is that the project will take longer than anticipated and the potential for cost overruns come in. Just the opposite is true with the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park project in Monticello Township.

The Wright County Board approved forwarding an allocation scheduled for 2021 for the project to 2020, because, as Parks & Recreation Administrator Marc Mattice informed them, the project contractor was able to significantly cut the timeline for the project.

Initially, the plan was to do the site work on the project in 2020 and put up the buildings in 2021, but that changed quickly after a discussion with the project contractor Bradbury Stamm Construction.

“We had the project budgeted out for two years - $500,000 in 2020 and $350,000 in 2021 thinking it would be a two-year project between buildings and construction,” Mattice said. “But, the contractor told us that it will be done this year. That wasn’t what we were planning.”

The project includes the installation of six camper cabins and 44 campsites, including four double-sized tandem campsites. With a new timeframe in place, Mattice said the changes needed to be made to take advantage of it without changing much to the project.

“The only thing that changed is that the playground and the campground will be delayed until 2021 and we’ll be substituting it with paving all campground roads in 2020,” Mattice said.

The majority of the project cost is being paid through a Legacy Grant Mattice secured for the project ($2.3 million) to go along with the $850,000 in CIP funds.

Fortunately, there were unused funds in the CIP account that could be shifted into the Bertram Chain of Lakes project to accommodate moving $350,000 that was earmarked for the project in 2021 to 2020 to fit the expedited construction schedule. The $350,000 will be taken out of Parks & Rec’s 2021 CIP budget.

To get the project to budget, the board approved swapping out copper conductors for aluminum, saving $70,000 in the process.

The decision to push the playground back and the road paving forward helped the project save additional time and money because what was initially thought to be a process that would start this spring, stop in the fall and resume the following year.

“It was a positive from the construction side because we could tie things together like electrical services to the buildings to save money,” Mattice said. “This way, when we’re doing to dirt work and now we can tell them to dig the foundation. We won’t have the piecemeal things like we did in the original plan.”

The good news for campers both inside and outside of Wright County is that, if all goes as scheduled, parkgoers will be able to enjoy the new camping area a year earlier than expected.

“Under the original plan, we wouldn’t have been open for business until 2022,” Mattice said. “With the new schedule, it looks like we will be able to open sometime in 2021. That’s always a good thing when you can open earlier than you thought you would and let people enjoy it sooner.”

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