Closer to construction

The Fergus Falls Port Authority discussed awarding the bid for the cleanup of the former Mid-Am Dairy property.

One more step in the former Mid-Am Dairy demolition and resettlement action plan (RAP) project took place Tuesday at the Fergus Falls Port Authority (FFPA) meeting in City Hall.

Fergus Falls City Engineer Brian Yavarow notified the  FFPA that Carleton Companies Incorporated had submitted the lowest of eight bids opened by staff Jan. 14 in the council chambers. 

Carleton’s bid was $1,948,165 according to Yavarow who added later that the engineer’s estimated probable construction cost was $2,050,000.

Yavarow said that Carleton’s bid made it the “apparent” low bidder but that city staff are still reviewing the bid proposal and project budget.

Yavarow also mentioned the contract allows the Port Authority, who owns the 29-acre property next to the Otter Tail River near downtown Fergus Falls, to retain the bids for 35 days from the opening date in order to make the decision on awarding the construction contract.

“The Port Authority has until Feb. 18 to award the contract,” Yavarow said.

Yavarow pointed out Wednesday that bid retention is an industry-standard practice. Retention times can typically range from 35 to 90 days which depends on a confluence of factors. 

FFPA President Anthony Hicks asked about the construction timetable.

“The contractors are looking at the weather but they will mobilize here soon, definitely before road restrictions come into place but obviously cold weather abatement will generally happen first but we’ll have to see how the weather turns out on that.”

According to project consultant Braun Intertec, two phases of redevelopment are planned once the demolition and environmental cleanup is completed. The first phase is to construct a river access and trail system covering 11.4 acres within the buffer area along the Otter Tail River. That portion of land is expected to be purchased by the city. The second phase is presumed to be a multi-family residential housing complex covering 18.3 acres.

The FFPA did not take immediate action on the bids but did discuss possible dates for a special session. A date is still to be determined. 

In other business, the FFPA settled the question of officers with Hicks serving as president, Brent Thompson acting as vice president, Bridget Leonard serving as secretary and Karoline Gustafson filling the position of assistant treasurer. Rebecca Petersen, Steve Schoeneck and Tom Rufer are members at large.

A discussion was held about the race track and it was announced the FFPA had received a lease payment for 2020.

Tuesday’s session ended with a closed meeting to discuss a letter of intent for the purchase of real estate property at 112 E. Washington Ave. 

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