From the June 6, 2008, Journal Gazette:

Final Harrison Square bids high
City confident project will stay on budget, finish on schedule

By Benjamin Lanka

Bids for the final large public contracts for Harrison Square were slightly more than expected, but city officials are confident the project can be done on budget and on time.

The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission on Thursday opened bids for two contracts for the $130 million downtown development: stormwater pump station with retaining wall and a streetscape package, including the construction of a public park.

Hamilton Hunter Builders Inc., of Fort Wayne, was the apparent low bidder for the streetscape contract. The company bid just more than $3 million for the project estimated to cost $2.85 million.

Greg Leatherman, executive director of redevelopment, said the contract includes curbs, sidewalks and beautification around the stadium. Although the bid was slightly over budget, he said the city has recently added some features to the streetscape to make it a more attractive project. He said this was only possible because other areas of the project will be done for less than expected.

“These are things that will all be seen,” he said.

Some of the amenities include colored concrete for $4,700 – according to the bid – and some tiled areas instead of concrete for $125,902. The bid also includes construction of the public park, which is scheduled to go just beyond center field. The park will include a water park and small amphitheater. It will be open to the public except during baseball games. The city previously received a $300,000 bequest from the estate of Robert E. Meyers, a former mayor, to help pay for the $500,000 public park.

Gerig Ottenweller Contracting LLC was the apparent low bidder for the stormwater pump station and concrete retaining wall bid. The city estimated the project to cost $744,000, and the company bid $785,000.

Leatherman said even with the higher bids, he wasn’t concerned about the project’s costs, saying the city still had almost $2 million in contingency money for unexpected overruns. He said the ballpark should be constructed on time and on budget.

The commission is scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. June 16 to approve the contracts. Harrison Square is a public-private development that includes a Courtyard by Marriott with parking garage, condominium/retail building and a city-owned ballpark downtown.

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