The name remains unlovely, but that’s no reason to look ugly.
In a unanimous vote, the Payson Town Council agreed to upgrade and stabilize the American Gulch from the Sawmill Crossing to the Westerly bridge during its Sept. 12 meeting.
The Arizona Water Protection Fund provided a grant for the project that will “include stabilization structures, including rock ... and larger natural ... material,” wrote the town in its request for bids.
The town will then provide “containerized plants, willows and sedge plugs” to the contractor who will place the plants to improve the riparian area under a separate contract.
The D.D. Haught Excavation, Co., along with Total Maintenance Erosion Control, LLC and M.D. Merret, Inc., submitted bids in early August after the town had to scrap the bid process and start over. Haught’s bid came in at $151,572.
“We’re very happy,” said Sheila DeSchaaf, acting town manager. “As you recall not too many meetings ago we had to reject the only bid we received for this project.”
The council rejected the original bid because of cost.
“During the first round of the bid process, we had four contractors attend the mandatory pre-bid meeting,” said Trever Fleetham, economic development and planning manager. “Only one of the four submitted a bid, which ended up being much higher than our engineer’s cost estimate and grant amount.”
During the second round of the bid process, nine contractors attended which resulted in three bids within the cost parameters.
Fleetham has an idea why contractors had more appropriate bids.
“There was an addendum sent out to all plan holders that contained the engineer’s cost estimate,” said Fleetham. “This, along with the additional questions asked at the second pre-bid meeting, most likely gave the contractors more detail and a better understanding of the project to help them submit bids closer to our engineer’s cost estimate.”
Councilor Suzy Tubbs-Avakian expressed her relief the beautification of the gulch would move forward.
“I am so happy that we were able to receive three bids — very nice to see,” she said.
She then sought to understand why staff thought D.D. Haught had the best bid.
“The bidders, is there something that maybe stood out — or were they just all over the place in their numbers?” she asked.
DeSchaaf wasn’t sure why, but offered an explanation.
“Sometimes it just has to do with how hungry people that are coming in to do the project are for work,” she said.
Councilor Jim Ferris hoped he could see what it would look like and if it would help with the land donation from the adjacent owners.
“It would be nice (to see) what it’s going to look like when it’s done,” he said. “And I hope, too, that it helps with the future possible land exchange deal.”
DeSchaaf explained that staff had already moved “forward accepting some property” west of Westerly bridge.
“And so ideally, we can channel some of the water going across that project in that area and this will be a continuation of this,” she said.
The bid requires D.D. Haught Excavation to start by Oct. 31 and complete the work by Dec. 31, 2019. All equipment must remain at the worksite or near Sawmill Crossing.
Already the town has built a bird watching area to start the gulch’s makeover.
Next up — look at a new name.