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City to tap reserves to finish work on Riverwalk project

Aug 8, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

The Riverton Riverwalk project has inched forward after the Riverton City Council approved dipping into the city's general fund reserves to pay for the remaining cost of the construction.

The pedestrian path will parallel the Wind River, connecting the Rails to Trails walkway to South Federal Boulevard.

The council awarded the $290,000 bid to Dave's Asphalt of Riverton, and engineers estimate the total cost to be roughly $314,000.

"This is a long-term project that we've been involved with for a very long period of time," said Alan Moore, president of the Depot Foundation that proposed the path's construction. "We understand that progress is made slowly."

Project process

Most recently, the Depot Foundation -- the non-profit organization that has helped develop the existing riverwalk system of trails in Riverton -- offered an additional $50,000 contribution to the construction project. The project is funded by a Transportation Enhancement Activities Local (TEAL) grant from the Wyoming Department of Transportation that was secured in 2010 in the amount of $150,000. City administrator Steven Weaver said the city could not request a third extension or additional funds because of the limited funds WyDOT has for projects like these.

The city has requested and been granted two extensions -- one for an environment assessment that needed to be done before a consultant could be selected, and the other so city staff could do some work on it themselves to save money after costs were determined to be too high because a large amount of fill that was needed.

The city placed large fills and installed culverts. Staff said this contribution will be used as the city's match to the grant.

The city advertised for the second time, and three bids were received by July 16, from Dave's Asphalt, 71 Construction ad Jerry Bornhoft Construction. The city will need to provide close to $100,000, and city staff confirmed to the council there is money set aside.

Other help

Council members Jonathan Faubion and Eric Heiser reminded the staff that the Fremont County and School District 25 Recreation boards possibly could assist the project financially.

"You never know for sure, but it seems like the kind of project those types of boards would want to get behind," Faubion said.

Moore said the costs of equipment usage and fill costs have been covered separately, and there are plans to add a watering system for trees along the path.

"We assembled about 195 acres after completed land swaps with Fremont County on both sides of the river for almost two miles," he said. "The thing that is necessary now is to make it accessible to as many people as possible."

Bid rejected

While the River Walk made progress Tuesday night, the Riverview Road utility improvement project stalled when the council agreed to reject bids received due to the lack of funding. Unlike the River Walk project, funding for the Riverview job would come from the city's water fund, but city staff suggested this fund be carefully watched and further withdrawals be avoided. Four bids were received that the city determined to be more than expected.

The city is reconstructing the water and sewer lines which will run along the road, and easements from resident Wedge Fike were acquired for the sewer line across his property. It was negotiated because the city determined that because of septic systems failures in the leach fields of the densely populated subdivision, those systems would eventually need to be abandoned and a sewer main line would have to run through their neighborhood for them to tie into.

The city, however, needs that money for the utility work on the Wyoming Department of Transportation's Riverview Road Project. The

improvement project would install an 8-inch PVC sanitary sewer across Fike's property to "add capacity to the Riverview Road system along with providing capacity for future development of the Fike property," read the memo from city staff to the council.

The lowest bid of about $140,000 was received from Viper Underground.

"I think that $140,000 bid from Viper is a very good bid, and I wish we could take advantage of it," Mayor Ron Warpness said.

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Riverton City Council