Sunderland awards Riverside Park improvements bid

  • Following a new wave of bids, the Sunderland Selectboard has awarded Hadley-based Marois Construction the revised bid for the Riverside Park improvements project. Staff Photo/CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer
Monday, December 20, 2021

SUNDERLAND — Following a new wave of bids, the Selectboard has awarded Hadley-based Marois Construction the revised bid for the Riverside Park improvements project.

Sunderland had received bids in November, but the recent upsurge in material prices caused the lowest bid to be 63% higher than the town had anticipated. After going back to the drawing board, the town decided to pare down the project at the 8-acre park on School Street, and was able to secure a $195,400 bid from Marois Construction to build a kayak kiosk and work on general pathway improvements around the park.

Town Administrator Geoff Kravitz said town officials “reduced the scope” of the project to try to get it under budget. He noted the base bid was $170,400 and then an additional $25,000 for benches that double as storage spaces.

“Fortunately these bids came back within budget,” Kravitz said by phone. “It was awarded to Marois Construction. They’re the ones doing the Sanderson Place affordable senior housing.”

The town received $185,840 in the form of a Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant in 2020 to help fund the improvement project, which must be spent before a June 1, 2022 deadline. The total cost for the project was originally projected to be $278,000.

“It will be co-mingled with (Community Preservation Act) funds and PARC, plus the funds that Rep. (Natalie) Blais was able to secure as well,” Kravitz said. “We’re excited to get the contract signed and start pre-construction meetings. June 1 is going to be here before we know it.”

The original improvement plan included the kayak kiosk, restroom renovations, a new recreation shed and other general improvements. Kravitz said keeping the kiosk was one of the priorities for the project because the Sunderland Public Library had requested it in the past.

“It was a library proposal that they had done in 2020. … It was sort of the genesis for the PARC grant,” Kravitz explained. “We think it’s going to be a great project and will enable the library kayak lending program.”

Speaking at a recent Selectboard meeting, Kravitz discussed communicating with Marois Construction to see what work can be done in the winter while the ground is frozen.

“I talked to them, ‘There’s a lot of woodworking, can you do that in the shop over the winter,’” Kravitz said.

Kravitz is still working on the contract for the Selectboard to sign and officially begin work, but he said Marois Construction assured him the project will be completed before the PARC funds are lost.

“They did not raise any concerns that they would not be able to accomplish the project in the time period,” he said. “We want to move forward as quickly as possible given the June 1 deadline.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.