West Allis skate park takes a tumble on too-steep bids

This computer-generated rendering offers an overview of the design for a West Allis skate park.
Published on: 8/13/2013

West Allis — Stunned by construction bids that came in twice as high as expected, the skate park planned for Radtke Park in West Allis won't become a reality this year.

The Common Council last week promised that the city will re-bid the project next spring. While the designer of the skate park estimated the cost at $300,000, the lowest of the two bids came in at $651,175, prompting aldermen to reject the bids.

City officials expect a better result next spring. Mid-summer is generally a bad time to bid a project, said Joe Burtch, assistant city engineer, because construction companies are busy with work that they have already lined up.

The massive Zoo Interchange freeway work is eating up a lot of contractor time, said Peter Daniels, city principal engineer for roads.

The other factor they noted is that the California-based designer didn't provide as many specifications as preferred in Wisconsin to guide construction companies as they develop their bids.

City officials are checking to see if any other factors came into play to push bids so high, said John Stibal, director of development.

The West Allis skate park would be paid for with federal Community Development Block Grant money and an anonymous foundation.

Officials knew that bids of more than $600,000 are out of line, based on costs reported by other communities that have built skate parks. Wauwatosa, for example, is building a park for an estimated $240,000, Daniels said.

The facility in Radtke Park, at 84th Street and National Avenue, would be used mainly by skateboarders, scooter riders and trick bikers.

The skate park is designed to be a balance between the kinds of things skateboarders like to bounce around on, such as stairs and benches, and swimming pool boarding features. That balance was favored by nearly two-thirds of local skateboarders who gave input online and at a meeting held by skate park consultant Spohn Ranch Skateparks, said designer Vince Onel.