CORPUS CHRISTI — The city has already spent between $500,000 and $1 million just trying to figure out how to fix the downtown water features; now estimates say fixing the features will cost at least $3.6 million.
That’s double the original $1.8 million estimate the city’s engineering department previously gave the city council, and it likely will go up again.
According to those estimates, getting the Watergarden back online will cost $3 million alone, compared with $600,000 for the Bayfront Park fountain. That's because the Watergarden needs much more work.
“All of the electrical mechanical equipment needs to be completely replaced,” said Director of Engineering Services Jeff Edmonds. “We're putting in an above-ground pump house instead of how it's currently installed in an in-ground vault.”
That's why the city will consider each feature as separate projects when accepting bids.
“Two base bids is the way we refer to it, and that means we can award either/or,” said Edmonds. “Those will be separated in the bid.”
Also, the $3.6 million estimate doesn't tell the whole story. There are also around $1.3 million in potential add-ons including backup pumps, new wiring and LED lights. Those raise the price to nearly $5 million.
Will this wash with the city council? Edmonds expects plenty of discussion.
“I'm not sure everyone is going to be on board with proceeding with the project, but I think there is probably majority support to getting this thing where it is functional,” said Edmonds.
Edmonds says he expects the project to go to the council sometime next month. Before it can go out for bid, the council needs to amend the capital improvement project to include the new costs.
If the city council signs off on the project, the city will likely start accepting bids early next year.