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St. Peters gets closer to finalizing plans for bond issue improvements

The Laurel Park pool in St. Peters is targeted to get a splash pad for younger swimmers as part of bond issue-funded projects in 2018.

St. Peters officials are closer to finalizing their plans for building several major swimming pool and golf course improvements, but it may be some time before they’re done.

The city’s Board of Aldermen reviewed bids for two separate swimming pool projects at its March 23 work session but made no decision on awarding contracts.

The smaller of the two projects is a proposed splash pad that would replace a kiddie swimming pool at Laurel Park, 181 Driftwood Lane.  The second is the city’s proposed $3.5 million aquatic center to be built on a former athletic field just south and near the city’s Rec-Plex complex off Mexico Road.

The splash pad at Laurel Park is in this years’ budget. St. Peters voters approved a $12 million no-tax increase bond issue last August to pay for building the aquatic park along with a new $5.7 million St. Peters Golf and Banquet Center at 200 Salt Lick Road, just south of Interstate 70.

City Administrator Russ Batzel told aldermen at their work session that he wanted permission from the board to continue to negotiate with bidders on both swimming pool projects before aldermen take action on awarding contracts. The projects are being built as part of a “design-build” process that allows some negotiation, he said.

Westport Pools, Inc. was the only, and recommended, bidder for the Laurel Hill project and is considered the top bidder among three for the aquatic center project. The bid for the Laurel park splash pad was $192,825, which is slightly higher than the city’s budgeted price for the project.

Batzel suggested that the Laurel Park project could come before the board at its April 13 meeting. He suggested, however, holding over the aquatic center bid until May to allow information on the golf course plans to be presented at the April meeting.

“I think the board would want to view it as a whole,” he said.

Westport was recommended from among three bids on the aquatic center although its bid was the second lowest. Capri Pools & Aquatics submitted the low bid of $3.59 million, followed by Westport at $3.76 million and Arco Construction Co. at $6.32 million. Batzel said city staff felt Westport offered the best combination of skilled staff, project approach and experience.

Although some adjustments may take place as part of the city’s talks with Westport officials, plans call for an eight-lane, 24-yard competition pool; a 427-foot “lazy river” that includes a long channel with a current where swimmers can float using inflatables; a splash pad; a one-meter diving board; two deck slides and a beach. The project also includes a shaded area, party pavilion and bathhouse.  Those features had been recommended in an earlier study by Westport.

Another consultant’s study of the golf course recommended more space for storing golf carts, new banquet facilities seating 350 people, expanded parking, more kitchen improvements, covered space for golf events, as well as a patio and deck space.  The present facility would be demolished.

Batzel said the timeline for completing the aquatic center is May 2018 with the golf course improvements by late fall 2018.  He said an early priority is to set up meetings with subdivision residents near the aquatic center and to hold open houses where the plans for the center and golf course could be outlined.

At about the time voters approved the bond issue last August, residents of Carrington Place and Dardenne Estates subdivisions questioned whether the city had informed them properly about the impact of new facilities on their nearby homes. Mayor Len Pagano and aldermen faced, at times angry, comments from residents who said the improvements would hurt their property values and questioned the need and location of the bond issue improvements.

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