Elk Grove's Proposed Aquatic Center Belly-Flops Again, Lowest Bid is $6 Million Over Budget

September 3, 2015 | VIDEO INCLUDED | Elk Grove  swimming and diving clubs may not like hearing it, but their long-sought swimming ...


September 3, 2015 | VIDEO INCLUDED |

Elk Grove  swimming and diving clubs may not like hearing it, but their long-sought swimming and diving facilities took a big-belly flop resulting in yet more delays according to a recent bid opening for Elk Grove's proposed Aquatics Center. 

At last Wednesday's regular meeting of the Elk Grove City Council, City Manager Laura Gill announced the news that will disappoint local swimmers and divers. As Elk Grove's leading advocates pushing the City of Elk Grove's foray into the recreation business, the clubs and the public learned that while three qualified bids were received for construction of the proposed facility, none of them came in under the city's budget for the project.

"Unfortunately the lowest responsive bid at $23.1 million exceeds the engineers estimates by about $6 million," Gill told the council. "Staff is analyzing the bid results and the budget impacts and we will present recommendations at a future city council meeting."

As recently as last September former Elk Grove Assistant City Manager Becky Craig said construction on the Aquatics Center could have started last Spring with a Spring, 2016 completion. Subsequent to her projections, Craig resigned her position with the city last March.

The project, which Mayor Gary Davis has taken the lead on originally called for a water amusement park to help subsidize the operations of the facility. Aside from complaints about placing the amusement park in the middle of a residential area, the idea was sunk after the city was unable to get financing for the project though their hired consultant, P3 International.  

Despite that setback, Davis, who has made transforming Elk Grove into a major tourist destination a keystone of his mayoral tenure has continued pushing to equip the facility with an Olympic-sized pool and a 10-meter diving platform. Davis has reasoned these amenities could help attract U.S. Olympic qualification events to Elk Grove. 

“This is a public-private partnership that will come together to leverage private capital to build a facility that will serve the public, but also a facility that could ultimately house the Olympic Trials in the future,” Davis told KCRA in 2013.  

Elk Grove has budgeted $17 million for the construction of the facility but has been vague on who might operate the facility, how much operating cost might be, and how large of an annual subsidy for its ongoing operation will be required. The Elk Grove-based Cosumnes Community Services District, which operates recreational facilities within Elk Grove including the Wackford Community Center & Aquatic Center, has repeatedly declined to bid on operation of the city's Aquatics Center.    

More recently, Elk Grove filed suit against P3 International, who the city awarded a $695,000 contract to in October, 2013 to provide financing and construction plans for the Aquatics Center. In the lawsuit which was filed in April, Elk Grove alleges "The City has paid over $525,000 to P3I...Yet in return it has failed to perform the contractually required services. Thus P3I has become indebted to the City for the value of the payments made for services that were not performed by P3I." 

"We have also invited the representatives from the swim disciplines to a meeting to discuss the project and we have also reached out to the Cosumnes Community Services District for consultation as well," Gill also told the city council

The date for those meetings, and if they will be open to the public, have not been revealed. 




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16 comments

Connie said...

The pool has to be smaller and the platform diving board has to go! It is too much of a liability issue. And six million dollars over, we all know that there are always cost overrides in any project of this magnitude! Make it more like seven or eight million dollars.

And who is going to operate the aquatics center making it revenue neutral?

Anonymous said...

Just another BIG idea our City Council...Mayor Davis in particular, had that has gone down the drain again. They were advised that P3I was not qualified before awarding the first contract and didn't do their homework, resulting in a lawsuit. Still sticking to this OLYMPIC size Aquatics Center with another misjudgement in costs and we're back to another beginning. LET IT GO please! As said above....smaller! Swimmers are happy with the size of Wackford, they just need a bigger pool. Why can't those 5 heads seated at the dias understand that? It's Finance 101!

We have many irons in the fire that are going to be very costly for EG, if or when they're ever completed. Most will not be revenue neutral. Past time for this City Council to face facts and make some hard decisions on priorities. Maybe another "Show and Tell" Old Town Plaza Food Truck Event is in order.

Proud to be led said...

I trust our leaders will try their best to give us our Olympic pool. Elk Grove is a great city and I know if they sharpen their pencils, the US Olympic Committee will be putting Elk Grove, CA on their map. Our home property values will benefit too!

Anonymous said...

"I know if they sharpen their pencils"...The US Olympic Committee could care less about what Elk Grove does!

To the best of my memory the city has these projects in the works:

Civic Center
Olympic Aquatics Center
MLS Stadium & Soccer Fields
Veterans Hall
Senior Center
Animal Shelter
Old Town Plaza

Did I miss one? Looks like it will take more than a sharp pencil. We may just have nothing left but the shavings.

Lynn said...

First: the lawsuit the city filed...win or lose this one our contracted city attorney comes out ahead; he makes big bucks either way and taxpayers get to pay!

My opinion; Becky Craig is an intelligent woman who left because she had no more pencils to sharpen and knew where this deal was headed. Who would want to tarnish their resume with Elk Grove bankruptcy....

Corrupt as Bell, Bankrupt as Vallejo!

Mark said...

I've been saying this for awhile now. Scrap the 10M platform. Keep the lower springboards and maybe the lower platforms depending on cost.

The idea of hosting the Olympic Trails is a complete joke. Aren't they held indoors? A quick search online and it appears all the major swimming/diving facilities around the country are at major universities and INDOORS. Texas, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Stanford, Georgia, Minnesota, Indiana etc. In 2016 They are in Indy hosted by IUPUI.

Perhaps if they scale this back my kids might actually use one of these grandiose facilities (swim, soccer, baseball/softball) before their all grown up. I'm not optimistic. Perhaps I'll have a chance to use the senior center as I have 25+ years before I'm a senior.

Anonymous said...

Yes, several of us agree with the Becky Craig comment above.

As to P3I...some of us checked out the address when this contract was awarded and found a dark little cubby-hole office with a desk & chair & nothing else. Appeared no business had been done there in some time. Wonder when the ciy will learn how to Google?

Anonymous said...

Next month it will have been 2 years since the first contract was signed with P3I, with a lawsuit following within 1 1/2 years. Our City Council still didn't get it, so they asked for new RFP's that have now come in $6 million over budget. Still was working that Olympic size Center. If they had just gone with an Aquatics Center we could maybe be using it in the spring...but NO, let's go BIG and we have nothing but more delays and a costly lawsuit that will most likely net zero for the city. It just never ceases to amaze me how this city can be so dense in Planning & Finances and it is costing the taxpayers major.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, we are going to Galt for a baseball tournament this weekend-Again. It's nothing special, but it just proves the point that a regular complex(one that can host both softball and baseball) works just fine. ?
We only have to be a destination area to nearby folks.
Think locally.

Anonymous said...

Think it's time to line those Food Trucks & Music up again for another little "Show and Tell". Invite all those Developers in that we have catered to and ask them to cough up some dough for the Olympics. Will help sell those houses and bring those 25,000 high-paying jobs to the front.

Anonymous said...

You can also add:

Proposed Sister City relationship with some city in Pakistan

Another proposed Sister City relationship with a city in Kenya.

The only properties being constructed are high density low income housing projects and thousands of bland stick and stucco tract homes.

It's Grow Time

Elk Grove Thriving!

Encephalitis said...

Why are we catering to a bunch of waterlogged kids and their parents? Are we going to allow them through Davis to bankrupt our city. And make no mistake, we will all be bankrupt if and when this comes to fruition. The longer it takes to build the more expensive it becomes to build. Increased property taxes, increased sales taxes, increased assessments, etc., etc., etc.

I don't have any children involved in field sports, but it is quite obvois that fairly immediate revenue would come if soccer/ball fields were built. A quick and much cheaper build than the grandiose and unrealistic Olympic aquatic center.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Davis and his underlings wake up in a new world every day and for some reason some seem all too glad to rubber stamp his grandiose ideas. My name for our elected officials will now be referred to as "groupthink" as we have seen time and time again.

Anonymous said...

Here is a clown show to emulate:

http://www.bayareasportsguy.com/floyd-kephart-clown-show-oakland-raiders-athletics/

Anonymous said...

Gee, that sounds like it was about Elk Grove. Especially...

"I had hope for him, but he was a major fail. He may have done irreparable damage. The question now is, how much time is left before it’s too late? And is there a savior waiting in the wings? Is there is, he or she had better hurry up".

Anonymous said...

I keep hearing or reading about millions here or there, estimates and actual dollar amounts to build this facility. Who can we believe anymore?

I'll just take the latest from the cities mouth..."Aquatics complex construction bids $6M above city’s estimate". Questions I have about this whole project..........

1. When was this estimate done? Was it done by someone who is familiar with building an Olympic Aquatics Center. Was it a ballpark, budget or definitive estimate? There can be a hugh variance between all of those.
2. Three bids received last month ranged from about $23.1 million to nearly $24.4 million. Elk Grove has about $14 million to put toward the entire 76-acre civic center project. My math shows there is a $9 - $10 Million gape...not $6 Million!
3. Never forget in a project this size there are always cost overrides too.

Quote in Citizen "City Manager Laura Gill said at the Council meeting on Aug. 26 that staff reached out to the Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) for consultation and to the area’s swim programs to discuss the project". REALLY? We're reaching out to swim coaches for an answer to millions of dollars in shortfalls. In case the city has forgotten you're speaking of taxpayer dollars here and should be reaching out to the community as a whole. OR are those coaches & their team members parents ready to put up that shortfall? CSD....think they answered that once.

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