WARSAW — City officials lamented the delay in construction of the North Buffalo Street plaza Monday, July 1, but other projects around the lake are continuing to move forward.
The city board of works rejected the lone bid for the plaza project last month because it was about $500,000 more expensive than the estimated $1.5 million projected cost.
Construction of the plaza, which will eventually tie in with new housing along Buffalo and a multi-use building near Center Lake, was tentatively scheduled to begin this summer but is now delayed until next year, according to Plan Director Jeremy Skinner.
Bidding for the project was delayed as the city waited for final approval of permits by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources that took longer than expected. A shortage of subcontractors as the summer construction season matured increased the cost of the project. Possible confusion over the bid process also likely drove up the costs, Skinner said Monday during a city redevelopment commission meeting.
The plaza will include concrete walkways, benches, a large piece of artwork and a boardwalk that will extend out over the edge of the lake. Plans for the boardwalk proved to be a stumbling point for the DNR, which debated whether it should be considered a permanent or temporary structure, Skinner said.
Mayor Joe Thallemer said he thinks that the complexity of the project probably narrowed the scope of potential bidders.
Skinner, though, expressed some confidence that by seeking bids this fall the city will be in a better position to find a contractor offering a proposal that is closer to the original estimate.
Meanwhile, other projects along Center Lake area are moving forward.
The first phase of housing along North Buffalo Street has commenced. Foundations for several homes are being set by the contractor, Ben Schmucker Construction of New Haven. The housing plans and the multi-use facility are being overseen by Matthews LLC, which is headquartered in South Bend.
The parks department is also moving forward with various projects along or near Center Lake. The park board recently set aside money to demolish the gas station at Canal and North Detroit streets. The city is also moving toward renovating the Center Lake Pavilion.
Construction of the plaza will not slow down other aspects of the overall development, Skinner said.
Housing construction is expected to be phased in over several years.