• Thu. Dec 8th, 2022

Johnson County FW Kent Park shower house and dump station renovations delayed by budget issues

ByDebra J. Aguilar

Sep 29, 2022

The project, to help protect the water quality of Johnson County’s FW Kent Park Lake, is awaiting revised bids from contractors.

Renovations to improve water quality at Johnson County FW Kent Park Lake are delayed due to bids from contractors going over budget.

Water quality tests returned results telling the county that the shower and dump station were polluting the water. Modifications to the park’s shower and dump station will cost at least $3.5 million, funded by the county’s American Rescue Plan Act grants.

RELATED: Johnson County to Use American Rescue Plan Act Funds to Strengthen Food Initiatives During COVID-19

Johnson County Conservation Program Manager Brian Freidhof said the water is polluted because the shower and dump stations are older structures, dating from the 1980s, and could leak.

Idea for water quality improvement efforts started in 2019 after lake and watershed renovations.

“We said, ‘We’re going to do everything humanly possible for us to protect the water quality of the lake'” Freidhof said. “The only thing we were aware of was that the septic field for our dump station associated with the campground and the RV shower were still located in the Kent Park Lake watershed.”

In an email to The Iowan Dailyconservation board director larry gullet wrote that another goal of the project is “to make sure the lake is safe for people to swim and recreate.”

American Rescue Plan Act funds will be used to help pay for the project. James BechtelAn analyst for the Johnson County Board of Supervisors project and systems, said that to maintain the quality of the restored watershed and lake, improvements must be made to the shower.

“It kind of indicated a good opportunity to invest ARPA funds to maintain this whole area of ​​investments for the county,” Bechtel said. “The specific logic used from our point of view is based on the public use of this area and the need to have access to it.”

Freidhof said the current problem with the project was bids from contractors exceeding the proposed budget, leading the conservation board to reject them. Supply chain issues and labor shortages also affected the project.

To move the project forward, county staff proposed splitting the renovation project in two. Current plans list the shower stall and dump station renovations as one project.

Bechtel said division of projects can have individual deadlines and the part of the dump station can be completed faster.

“And so to get some benefit from water quality investments in watershed protection, it’s more of a recommendation that instead of moving everything together, we can do the easiest, the one that has the least procurement and construction issues,” he said.

For friedhofhe said the hope is to complete the project as soon as possible so people can once again fully enjoy the park.

“We want them to come here and feel at home,” Freidhof said. “Come here and camp and relax, take a quick shower. We want all those amenities that we can provide. And we want high quality equipment for them. So we will continue to work hard to complete this project.