Artificial turf field on hold after high bids received

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The city of Steamboat Springs' plans to build an artificial turf field near Christian Heritage School are on hold after bids came in at almost double what was estimated.

City officials had intended to start construction on the field this fall so it could be ready by spring. The City Council will decide Tuesday whether those plans should be delayed after the lower of the two bids came in at $492,000, City Manager Paul Hughes said.

Construction costs were anticipated to be about $250,000.

"It fits into the scenario this season of everything coming in more than expected," Hughes said. "Since nothing is in the ground and we haven't ordered anything yet, we need to pull back and see what we need to do."

The higher-than-expected field bids come on the heels of a bid to replace the city's tennis bubble that was almost $800,000 more than anticipated. In August, City Council members agreed to go ahead with the tennis bubble project, which will cost $3 million.

Last fall, the city received a $150,000 state grant for construction of the artificial turf field. In October, City Council members agreed to spend $100,000 on the field.

The artificial field is proposed for the area between Christian Heritage School and the Heritage Park subdivision west of Steamboat.

Plans are for a large baseball field that also could accommodate youth soccer games

The field is too small for adult and high school athletics contests, but an artificial turf field could be used in the spring, when natural turf fields remain soggy from snowmelt. Triple Crown games also could be held on the field.

One reason for the high bids is because of a $44,000 estimate for paving and striping a parking lot at the field. Signage would cost $2,000.

The delay could quell complaints from Heritage Park homeowners, many of whom worried that the new field would be too close to their homes and would further complicate existing traffic problems.

Heritage Park homeowners were scheduled to talk about the field at Tuesday's City Council meeting, but Hughes said the discussion instead will focus on whether the council should delay the project.

"(The high cost) could well do that, unless prices drop considerably or we come up with a lot more funding," Hughes said.

The city has until the end of the year to try to extend the $150,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado.

Hughes said the city still is interested in building the field and partnering with Christian Heritage School to do so.

"We will do our best to come up with something that works," Hughes said.

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