Waterfront play area’s cost exceeds port budget

Commissioners approve contractor bids of $424,078

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A natural play area, to open on the Washougal waterfront this summer, will include a Sasquatch sculpture, log benches and steppers, boulder edging and a boulder maze, engineered wood fiber on the ground and a metal slide that follows the slope of the hill. There will also be musical instruments -- three junior drums and a metallophone -- made of steel tubing. (Contributed rendering courtesy of ID Sculpture)

Local families can look forward to playing on natural elements on the Washougal waterfront this summer.

Recent bids for a natural play area on the waterfront are lower than they were in 2018, but they are still more than the budgeted amount for the project.

Port of Camas-Washougal commissioners have approved a $394,576 contract with Keystone Contracting Inc., of Ridgefield, to construct the play area. That includes $30,576 in sales tax. Keystone was the lowest of nine bidders, with the highest being PCR Inc., of Beavercreek, Oregon ($738,000).

The port’s 2019 budget includes $336,801 for the natural play area.

The budgeted amount was supposed to include the cost of the creation and installation of a Sasquatch sculpture.

“We will make it up through our capital reserves,” said Port Executive Director David Ripp.

In July 2018, Paul Brothers Inc., of Boring, Oregon submitted the lowest of two bids, $429,700. With an 8.4 percent sales tax of $36,094, the total construction cost would have been $465,794. At that time, Port Director of Planning and Development Mark Miller said the bid climate was high because of a busy summer construction season, as well as limited availability of workforce and increasing costs of materials.

Ripp said the natural play area bids came in over budget this year because of how busy the contractors are.

“There is so much work going on (that) the contractors can bump their bids up higher,” he said.

Keystone Contracting is expected to begin construction of the natural play area in March and be completed by the end of June 2019.

Ripp said the word, natural, is used to describe the essence of the park.

“The typical park has swing sets, merry go round and monkey bars,” he said. “The typical natural play areas are using native materials for kids to climb on and around. The goal is to create settings that encourage creative play and interaction with natural features.”

A Sasquatch sculpture, named “Eegah,” will be the centerpiece of the natural play area. Designed by ID Sculpture, of Gunnison, Colorado, the $18,266 sculpture will be made of reinforced steel, GeoFoam and glass-fiber-reinforced concrete. The figure will be situated near “Erric the Erratic,” a boulder that traveled on a glacier from Canada to the Camas-Washougal area in the Missoula Floods.

Miller said “Eegah” and “Erric” will be connected by large ropes that children can climb and swing from.

GreenWorks, P.C., a Portland landscape architecture and environmental design firm, developed the plans for the children’s play area. It will include log benches and steppers, stone steps and seat wall, log and boulder edging, a boulder maze, engineered wood fiber on the ground and a metal slide that follows the slope of the hill. There will also be musical instruments — a goblet junior drum, a kettle junior drum, a kundu junior drum, and a metallophone — all made of steel tubing.

Similar elements have been included in natural play areas at Westmoreland Park, in Portland; and Columbia Tech Center, in Vancouver.

The Port of Camas-Washougal natural play area will be built along the Washougal Waterfront Park and Trail, located near the former Hambleton Lumber Company site.