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Council rejects Legion Park bids
February 27, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
Meeting in special session last Thursday, the Gering City Council rejected three bids to rebuild the restrooms in Legion Park.

The vote had been tabled from the council’s previous meeting to allow for public input. The Planning Commission recommended tearing down the bathrooms and building new ones. However, when the Recreation Committee met the following week, several local residents objected, saying the existing structure has some historic significance. So the Rec Committee voted to postpone the project.

“Some significant community involvement indicated they want the current band shell to remain or an alternative to be proposed,” said council member Jill McFarland. “It would be inappropriate to accept any of the bids because a new proposal would probably mean a large number of change orders.”

After the meeting, McFarland said they expect the new project will include restrooms as well as a stage or shell structure for performance venues. Currently, the Gering City Band performs several times in the park during the summer months.

The city had originally proposed rebuilding the restrooms in Legion Park because the 1920-era sewer line running under the building is in need of replacement. City Engineer Paul Snarr said it’s possible to replace the old sewer line without tearing down the existing building, but it would cost significantly more.

“It’s never a good practice to put a building over a sanitary sewer main, but it happens,” Snarr said. “If we put in a new liner, it would be much better material that has better seals. It would last a lot longer than the cast iron pipe that’s in there now.”

The proposed project now returns to the city engineer’s office, which will research options for consideration. Because the park can’t go without restrooms for the summer, any construction would probably have to wait until autumn.

In other action, council members approved a $45,188 bid for the construction of an addition to the current cemetery building, which will be used for needed equipment storage.
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