The city of Ocala will take a larger role in the construction of the new Heritage Trail as a result of an “outrageously high” bid received for the project.
The announcement came during the May 18 meeting of the West Ocala Redevelopment Advisory Committee. Although the city had originally hoped to begin construction and eventually have the walk completed by this Spring, the rise in construction costs has slowed the project.
The only proposed bid came in at $399,309, or nearly twice what the city originally estimated, according to CRA Manager Gus Gianikas.
As a result, city crews and contractors with continuing service agreements will conduct site work for the project.
This includes $24,000 that the Public Works department will handle by removing hazardous trees, pavement, curb, sidewalk, and drive aprons. Public Works will also be on site to maintain traffic, which will save an additional $8,500 from the original bid.
In total, city staff hopes to save at least $57,500. This doesn’t take into account additional reimbursements from the Florida Department of Transportation, including a $19,000 grant for tress and irrigation that the city received recently.
The project, which is over two years in the making, has been gaining steam in recent months. The Heritage Trail Selection Committee has put forth a list of nominees for consideration to be displayed along the trail, and the city is working through an artist selection process.