Cost overruns at a planned park in Santa Rosa’s Roseland neighborhood are the latest in a steady stream of problems facing the city’s Recreation and Parks Department.
The consulting firm hired to design Bayer Neighborhood Park and Garden on West Avenue says it needs an additional $320,000 and two more years to complete work on the long-delayed project.
The increase would bring the total cost of community outreach and design services to $1.35 million, a figure that surprised several City Council members when they heard it earlier this month.
Mayor Scott Bartley calculated the new cost as 21 percent of the $6.5 million estimated cost to construct the park, “which by any stretch of the imagination is exorbitant.”
Councilman Gary Wysocky also balked at the higher figure, stressing how many other needs there are in the cash-strapped department.
“This is a 30 percent change order, is what this is,” Wysocky said. “Wow!”
Assistant City Manager Jennifer Phillips explained that the costs increased because the scope of the project expanded significantly once the community got involved in helping design the park.
Originally, the park was envisioned to rehabilitate the old farmhouse and barn on the property. But over the course of “20 or 30 meetings” with the community, numerous other features were added, including a community building, commercial kitchen, offices for LandPaths and a caretaker’s residence.
“It was a wonderful collaborative effort from a community engagement standpoint, but I think from a project management standpoint, we missed on a few marks,” Phillips said.
The cost of the project – including acquisition of the land — soared to nearly $20 million, money the city doesn’t have, she said.
“Basically what happened is we told the public money is no object through the design process,” Bartley said.