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Mills River eyes $424,000 contract for baseball field

MILLS RIVER — A do-over in hopes of reducing the cost of a new baseball field at Mills River Town Park resulted in a savings of about $200,000, and the Town Council may OK a contract on Thursday night.

Last March, G. Thomas "Tom" Jones III, the town's consulting engineer, told the board that three contractors had responded to a bid offer for the work and all came in at more than $600,000. After scaling back the work, new bids opened in November came in much lower.

Jones and Town Manager Daniel Cobb are recommending that the board authorize a contract for the low bidder, Hendersonville-based Carolina Specialties Construction, which bid $424,006. The next lowest among the five contractors bidding was Gosnell Construction and Utility Co., which bid $449,983. The highest total, $723,000, was from NHM Constructors.

"When we bid it last spring we had the fences extended beyond first and third base," Cobb said. The new bid solicitation pulled the fences back, saving some money. The project still includes dugouts and bleachers. "We didn't change the scope of the overall work. We just modified some of the design and made the reduction of the fence."

The field would be grassed with sod, which could be used faster, or by seeding, which would take weeks to establish. Carolina Specialties bid $48,162 to plant grass versus $80,089 for sod. The low bid of $424,006 includes sod. The town council will have to decide whether to pay the $31,926 difference for quicker use of the baseball diamond, Cobb said. Money for the project would come from the town's fund balance, which is currently $5,085,672.70.

NOTE: An earlier version of this missreported the difference in cost between sod and grass. The difference is $31,926, not $73,000.