Parking costs keep rising, even for town
BRECKENRIDGE – If you think paying $10 or $15 is pricey for skier parking, try swallowing $1.98 million. That’s how much the town of Breckenridge could pay to build a new parking structure.In January, council members supported construction of a decked parking structure on the Exchange Lot at the corner of Ridge and Lincoln streets. The structure would provide a net gain of 39 parking spaces, for a total of 95. The town chose Hyder Construction, which estimated the project at $1.67 million. The town hoped to begin the project last spring and finish at the end of this summer, but civil engineer Rob Theobald was waiting for sub contractor bids.The bids have come in, and the total cost is $1.98 million – almost $300,000 more than the original estimate. Theobald feels this is the best price the town can get at this point, he wrote in a memo to town council.The higher cost stems from increased labor and diesel costs for excavation and general conditions. Staff estimates the town will need an additional $15,000 for miscellaneous expenses such as materials testing.However, the council previously budgeted $1.2 million for construction.”This was a fun project, but you’ve taken some of the excitement out,” said Mayor Ernie Blake, referring to the rising cost. He also expressed frustration with costs and delays on other town projects, such as the Welcome Center, which was scheduled for completion in May, then June, and now July, he said.Councilmember Eric Mamula didn’t think the project is worth nearly $2 million, saying a cost of $40,000 a space seems “astronomical.” Councilmember Dave Rossi agreed.”It is what it is,” said Councilmember Jeffrey Bergeron. “We agreed that we need this thing. I’m not ready to put the kabash on it.”Councilmember Jennifer McAtamney agreed that providing parking in the core of town is more important than ever, since Breckenridge Ski Area’s parking will become paid parking this winter.”We’re going to pay more down the road (for a parking structure), so we just need to swallow a bitter pill now,” McAtamney said.One way to decrease the project’s price would be to chose one type of siding: either board and batten or lap. But McAtamney pointed out that the extra $20,000 is worth creating a more aesthetically pleasing structure.Another headache the council faces is scheduling. Theobald said the structure wouldn’t be complete until December, though it would be “substantially completed” the first week of November. Councilmember Eric Mamula insisted the contractor finish the structure by Nov. 12, when the ski area opens.To motivate the contractor to wrap-up on time, Councilmember Rob Millisor suggested a penalty of $2,000 to $3,000 per day if the project isn’t done by Thanksgiving.”I’d rather use a bigger bat, like $100,000 (fine). I’m tired of getting yanked around,” said Councilmember John Warner. “It’s impossible to go into Thanksgiving.”As disappointment in both cost and scheduling mounted, council members expressed more dismay.”Tell them we’re one vote away from telling them to hit the bricks,” said Councilmember Jeffrey Bergeron.
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