Feb 21, 2014 - By Eric Blom, Staff WriterPatrick Construction is to rebuild Fremont County's Green Mountain campground. The Lander-based company entered the lowest bid for the project at $207,000.
Fremont County Commissioners accepted the bid Feb. 18 unanimously on Tuesday on the recommendation of the county recreation board. Commissioners Keja Whiteman and Larry Allen were not at the meeting.
Two other companies entered higher bids, and the recreation board opened bids Feb. 13.
The rec board is funding the project from a $250,000 loan from the county, to be repaid over several years.
The estimated construction cost plus the fee for DOWL HKM to design the project total about $234,000.
"We'd like to reserve the extra cash," recreation board chairman Cade Maestas said
The $207,000 would only cover grading work to construct 10 pull-through recreational vehicle sites and six tent sites on the north loop of the county's 41-acre property in southeastern Fremont County. It would also build a level site for a group shelter, but construction of the structure itself, however, would wait.
DOWL HKM engineer Jessica Klein expects the construction to be finished in mid-September, she said.
The rec board plans to add additional features for the campground in the future, including the group shelter, picnic tables, fire rings, a horse corral, campsite numbering, bear-proof food containers and a fence around the perimeter.R32;Those items were listed in the bids as optional additions, and the bidders listed a quote for each piece.
For now, those features are on hold. The rec board recommended against choosing any of them.
Some of the money could go toward building a new restroom recommended by the board, Maestas said. The board hoped it could get a low price to build the facility by joining a contract the Wyoming State Parks arranges to build restrooms at its parks.
Klein said groups will be able to use the area where the group shelter will go for events such as weddings before the structure is in place. After the first phase of construction, the spot would be level and seeded with grass, and a group could erect a temporary canopy.
Fremont County Commissioners approved the $250,000 loan for the recreation board in August after hearing the board's plans. The board must repay the loan within five years at a 2.5 percent interest rate.
Commission chairman Doug Thompson raised a concern about access to the county's property because it is on a road owned by the Bureau of Land Management.
In the past, BLM has opened the road May 15 or later, Maestas said, but he reached an agreement with the federal agency that it could open the road to the county's campground May 1. The BLM would not have to move any gates to make the new arrangement work, Maestas said, which was a concern earlier in planning of the project.
The new construction would also not increase maintenance of the site much, he said. The only new requirements would be to empty trash containers and the vault toilet more often because the recreation board expects more people to use the campground.
An owner of land adjacent to the county's Green Mountain property sent a letter of concerns to the commission.
"Is there really a need to spend all those tax dollars on an already existing park?" Bill Maier asked.
He also stated he did not think there was any time for public input, and there was no public notification.
At the commission's Feb. 18 meeting, Maestas said he spoke with Maier three times on the phone, exchanged several e-mails with him, and invited him to recreation board meetings.
The board discussed the project in open, advertised commission meetings several times last spring and summer. The Ranger and the Lander Journal ran three stories about the project in the past year.
Thompson would draft a response to Maier's letter, the commission chairman said.
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