Delridge Skatepark update: Parks to re-bid; construction in 2011

As previously reported, there’ve been questions concerning the bidding process for Delridge Skatepark (to be built at the northeast corner of the park adjacent to Delridge Community Center), after the low bidder was reported to not have met an amendment to the qualifications requiring a certain number of skateparks of a certain size to have been built within a certain time – Parks was deciding whether to give the project to the second-lowest bidder, or to re-bid it. According to a note just received from project manager Kelly Davidson, they’ve made the latter decision:

After internal review and review with the City Attorney’s office, Parks is rejecting all bids for Delridge Skatepark. The project and qualifications will be reviewed and the project will be re-bid. I will follow up with more information on the re-bid process once we have determined the dates and revisions to the qualifications.

Just after we published the first version of this, another e-mail came in, this one from Kevin Stoops, a top manager in Parks, confirming this means a months-long delay in skatepark construction:

Earlier today we decided to reject all bids for the Delridge Skatepark and rebid this project later this year or early next year for mid-2011 construction.

This decision has been reached after a review of the very restrictive supplemental bidder qualifications that were issued by addendum to the original project requirements. These focused on volume of work rather than specific construction requirements to complete the work, and are unnecessarily restrictive. the project will be re-bid with clearer contractor qualification requirements outlined in the construction documents. The design of the skatepark will not be changed.

Further, issuance of a construction contract involving excavation and concrete work at this time of year will be problematic was we are now ready to enter a wet rainy period for some time. The construction window for such concrete work is already rapidly coming to an end for 2010 and an extremely wet winter is forecast. Starting construction in the face of such would likely lead to unintended site costs due to wet conditions.

24 Replies to "Delridge Skatepark update: Parks to re-bid; construction in 2011"

  • marty October 13, 2010 (6:07 pm)

    Sounds like some city folks need to go back and take Bidding 101 again. It’s pretty sad when a project manager can’t handle a simple bidding process. All this does is add to the cost…

  • Nancy Folsom October 13, 2010 (6:08 pm)

    I am appalled and furious that a single person, seemingly, can undercut this project after its having spent two years being developed, and then experiencing delay after delay because, I gather, Director Stoops hadn’t been involved in the project. How does one person have the gall to imply that the previous director, Parks design and engineering staff, City Council, neighbors, Parks Levy Oversight Committee, skate boarders, and five public comment meetings are inadequate? This seems like an autocratic decision made from some basis other than what is overwhelmingly desired by all stakeholders.

  • Eric October 13, 2010 (6:22 pm)

    Reading between the lines, none of this sounds like it’s about the design, meetings, etc. It sounds like they want to go with the low bid they received, but the low bidder doesn’t meet the requirements that they placed in the bid request, so they can’t legally award the contract to them without issuing another request for bids… Of course it’s also always possible that right now they aren’t wanting to get into new contracts as well and this is a convenient short term opt out.

  • Reese Record October 13, 2010 (7:17 pm)

    Hopefully grindline will get the bid.

  • m 3206 October 13, 2010 (7:30 pm)

    My son is waiting along with alot of other skateboarders to get this show on the road……

  • Matty October 13, 2010 (11:13 pm)

    Each year, another generation gets fatter and less self sufficent, gets more into drinking n stealing, or maybe goes and blows his or her brains out as they don’t fit into the normal “stick n ball” activities our elders keep pushing down upon the youths of today. You pencil pushers should be ashamed.

  • dsa October 14, 2010 (12:15 am)

    They clearly explain the bid documents were faulty because qualifications were not based on quantity and not quality. The low bidder may have had a claim and as it was the city appeared to be overspending about 100k.

  • Leisa October 14, 2010 (8:12 am)

    Major major disappointment. Shame on the Parks Department for this delay and for tip-toeing around awarding the contract to an bidder they obviously view as favorable, regardless of qualifications.

  • Bill October 14, 2010 (9:01 am)

    Either rebid or go through a potential legal action by ALL the bidders of the project – not just the top two candidates.

    I wonder if the design team had any say in putting together the bid package i.e. qualifications. OR Parks took a look at all the contractors that picked up the plans and thought maybe they should filter some out, appears that they filtered it out to one contractor.

    Interesting to see the new bids and if they are more competetive…

  • Billy October 14, 2010 (10:12 am)

    This is very disappointing. Just more time, money and effort being put into guaranteeing that Sahli gets the job. Skaters of Seattle are being Stoops’d!

  • Coyote October 14, 2010 (11:02 am)

    I’m extremely unhappy about this. I wanted to skate this park next summer. But to be honest I’m not surprised at all. River city is almost done but it was supposed to be built over a year ago. The Seattle center skatepark was delivered well over a year after it was promised. I wouldn’t be surprised if it took till 2012 to finish the delridge park. Creating a positive place for young people to gather and exercise their minds and bodies should be a huge priority for our government, in my opinion.

  • dsa October 14, 2010 (11:10 am)

    I said it wrong. I meant:

    They clearly explained the bid documents were faulty because contractor qualifications were based on quantity instead of quality.

  • life-long skater October 14, 2010 (11:42 am)

    While this seems like a major setback, in the long run this is a good thing. Skateparks are expensive and take a long time to go through the politcal / public process. This park has been in the works for several years and it would be a shame to have someone without the very specific qualifications get the contract to build it. Too many skateparks are built by contractors that are not qualified. Many skateparks get built in accordance with the specific design specifications however, construction deficiencies only become visible to the end user (skateboarders) after several years of use and weathering. Issues will crop up that significantly impact the skateability of the surfaces that are due to the construction methods used by contractors who do not have the skatepark resume to demonstrate that their work can stand the test of time. Be patient and hopefully the City will hire a good skatepark contractor – not just someone who can put together the lowest bid.

  • deanit October 14, 2010 (12:40 pm)

    I’ve burned alot of email on this, and only gotten response from two city council aides, both of whom pointed fingers at the Mayor’s office, who pointed fingers back at the city council and then at the parks department.

    No one seems to want to take responsibility or explain exactly why the contract was not awarded to the company with the lowest qualified bid. Mr Stoops did respond, but only with an exact cut&paste of the above.

    I’m extremely disappointed, but I’m at a loss as to what to do about it. No one would comment on whether what they are doing is legal.

    There are ways to file a grievance based on what I percieve as an ethics issue, but I don’t want to see money spent only to get the same answer.

    I’m really not comfortable with the way the decision has been usurped seemingly only to award the contract to Sahli, a sub-standard skatepark builder.

    Frustrated and disappointed, for sure.

  • MLJ October 14, 2010 (7:17 pm)

    One correction to the piece here is that it’s not that Parks didn’t give the job to the next lowest bidder, but they didn’t give the job to the first qualified bidder. The guy at the top of their list actually didn’t qualify. Their #2 is actually #1, which means legally, they are the lowest qualified bidder.

    • WSB October 14, 2010 (7:28 pm)

      I saw your post before seeing this comment. Have just posted a comment there about exchange at the Parks Board, which I’m currently covering downtown – TR

  • Bill October 14, 2010 (8:19 pm)

    MLJ –
    In your experience, do can you provide a list of local contractors that fit the qualifications of 6 skateparks over 6 years greater than 15,000SF?

    Just curious to know…

  • MLJ October 14, 2010 (11:29 pm)

    Bill: local is only an issue here because the lowest qualified bidder just happens to be from the neighborhood. But there are regional options and West Coast firms who easily meet this criteria: New Line, Dreamland, Team Pain, California Skateparks… And there are more.

    A good skatepark system is diverse and ideally we have parks from a varied group of qualified builders scattered across the city. But the local pride issue at Delridge is paramount. The Grindline guys grew up here. We should be bending over backwards to let the hometown kids (now successful skatepark designers/builders) give something back to their own community.

    I mean…this is incredible. This is a community success story come full circle. I’m blown away by the lack of awareness around this.

  • Bill October 15, 2010 (9:16 am)

    Thanks for the info. I think the Parks Department has bent over backwards by providing a addendum for qualifications that eliminated the competition (complete opposite of the public process). By not rebidding all contractos from first to last will file a grievance towards the City and turning this project into a legal process potentially delaying the project. They are doing the right thing to rebid, just hope that Grindline prevails. Parks has done a great job in community outreach. We are fortunate that the City is willing to spend public funds for skateparks. Remember that its not like Grindline was totally uninvolved in this project, it is still a “success story” if they are chosen not to build the park.

    Since a lot of people want design/build (such as Grindline) – if the City went to this type of project approach, then a lot of projects will not be done by local businesses. For instance, the Seattle Waterfront is being led by a team from New York, the a majority of the West Seattle Driving range is being designed in Oregon and Arizona. Yes there are locals involved in the team, but at the end of the day when the check is cashed a lot of it goes out of State. If it becomes a competetive design/build then a lot of designers will bring their contractors who are also out of State.

  • Bill October 15, 2010 (10:13 am)

    MLJ: Have you contacted Dreamland? There was a earlier post regarding this project and Mark Scott expressed interest in bidding if he was aware of the projct. Maybe some outreach needs to be shown to bring in some more qualified competition?

  • Pete October 15, 2010 (12:54 pm)

    The city is not the one that is willing to spend the money on this project. It is each of us that pays property taxes as the funding is coming form the Parks levies. This is money that was set aside for this project through the levy and the actions of the Levy Oversight Committee.

  • MLJ October 15, 2010 (1:58 pm)

    I guess we just see things slightly different Bill. I don’t think of the qualifications as eliminating the competition, I see them as guaranteeing that we get a qualified contractor. I realize there’s a fine line there, but I would never advocate for qualifications that were specifically created to keep an individual contractor out of the running. That would be wrong.
    We have contacted Dreamland in the past, and we will continue to reach out to them. They aren’t the easiest folks to get in touch with. I think the skateboarders of Seattle would benefit greatly from a Dreamland built park.
    The only reason the local issue is coming up here is because we have an extraordinary situation with Grindline in the neighborhood. I realize that’s not legal ground to stand on, and certainly the contract can’t be awarded based on proximity. I just think it would be nice if we could factor in community pride into the equation. I realize that’s not quantifiable or possible.
    Generally speaking, I don’t care where the firm is located as long as they are the best contractor we can get with the budget we have. Again, my problem with this recent chain of events is that the lowest qualified bidder (based on the qualifications skateboarders and other cities think are fair, and that Seattle Parks released) is not being given the job. The process isn’t being followed.

  • Bill October 16, 2010 (6:30 am)

    Good debate MLJ ~ You’re a good advocate for Seattle skaters, and I respect your pursuit to get the best product built. At the end of this, I hope you get what you want and what the community and end-user involved.

    With that said, your problem as stated in the last statement is that the process was flawed (not fair) and so they have to rebid – I’m sure they were consulted by the City’s attorney. This was also an addendum to the RFP which means that contractors have already put time and effort into the bidding process before they were notified of the qualfications.

    At this time, qualification are a must since contractors are pursuiting all sorts of work and stretching their abilities and skill sets. But, the problem is that the qualifications are biased towards a specific contractor. A normal qualification would be “Contractor must have first hand experience in construction of skateparks within the last six years” I’ll even buy “Contractor must have first hand experience in construction of skateparks over 15,000sf within in the last six years.” But to have a performance qualification of the quantity of experience is overstepping the process. I am unaware of any other cities which would allow this in a public bid process.

    Why 15,000 sf? Isn’t Delridge designed for 12,500 sf? Why six skateparks? One built each year? That is an impressive qualification in a down economy. What if Dreamland built 5 over 15,000sf in six years? Would you disqualify them fulling knowing that they are qualified in your eyes? What if they built 20 skateparks but they were all less than 15,000sf? I hope you see what I am getting at…

    The qualifications bring it down to a small number of companies to do the work. Yes, one is local and the favorite, but the others are not even aware of the work mostly because the City does not advertise outside of the region (I think). If this project wants to be done well by an outright, qualified bidder then there needs to be some outreach for a competitive price. If there is only one qualified contractor, then they are allowed to set the standard/value of their work. Which is not in the City’s best interest or public funds and ultimately the City’s process for a open, competitive bid.

    Since I’m not attached to the project, I see the different angles by all parties involved so I’m disappointed when everybody points the finger at Parks. They are doing the best that they can given the recent layoffs and budget cuts to shepard all projects along.

  • Bill October 16, 2010 (7:05 am)

    By the way, I read your letters and they are well written with valid arguments/points. Just my two cents on the public process… Best of luck.

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