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‘Trust us’: City staff can award Lacy Park bids

These unique times we’re living in call for some unique solutions.

The construction of a playground in a City of Warren park was such an item during this week’s Warren City Council meeting.

Department of Public Works Director Mike Holtz said that the city has received approval from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to go out for bids on the Lacy Park sensory playground project.

He said the project is slated for construction in 2020.

“(It) may not be advisable to meet in public session in the coming weeks,” he said, noting that could result in a delay of the project with grants from private groups set to expire at the end of the year.

Holtz then asked council to authorize the city to award the contract if bids are in line with the project budget. That would mean that the final authorization for the contracts does not come before city council.

That, he said, would allow completion of the project by the end of the 2020 construction season.

“You have to trust us,” he acknowledged.

City Manager Nancy Freenock acknowledged that the item would be before council in April if there was an April meeting.

Mayor Maurice Cashman asked if council could approve the contracts by email vote but Freenock said that would violate the Sunshine Law.

“I have faith that staff can pick the lowest bid,” Councilman Christian Zavinski said.

Councilman John Wortman said he would be uncomfortable voting without the full numbers.

However, council did grant city staff the ability to award the contract by a 4-2 margin with Zavinski, Gregory Fraser, Phil Gilbert and Paul Giannini in support and Wortman and Mayor Maurice Cashman in opposition.

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