Costs Rise for Wall, Shell Building

BLYTHEWOOD (Feb. 25, 2016) – The Wall that Heals, a traveling scale replica of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. destined for Blythewood May 26-30, is going to cost the Town a lot more than the $7,500 reported last month.

During Monday night’s Town Council meeting, Town Administrator Gary Parker told Council that the cost of hosting the exhibit now looks to run as much as $12,000.

“When I asked a question a month ago, my real thought process was this is probably going to cost us between $12,000 and $15,000,” Councilman Tom Utroska said. “We’re all in favor (of bringing in the exhibit), but the real issue I have is transparency. I don’t think we need to sit here and tell people we’re going to spend $6,500, then $7,500 and then somewhere down the road it’s like, Jeeze, you said it was going to be $7,500, now its $14,000. Let’s go ahead and put all our cards on the table, this is what we think it’s going to cost. I just want to be straightforward with the people we represent.”

Parker said the $7,500 was just the upfront cost of bringing the exhibit to town. Hosting the exhibit around the clock for five days will bring additional costs, including, he said, electricians ($200); rope and posts for barriers ($625); electrical power ($200); a pair of deputies for security ($240); two portable outdoor rest rooms ($900); water for volunteers ($100); and promotion and advertising costs ($400). An opening ceremony at the Manor would also add $250-$300 to the price tag, Parker said.

If one were to factor in the man-hours spent on the exhibit by Town staff, Parker said, the cost would be between $11,000 and $12,000.

Mayor J. Michael Ross said the Council was being transparent, presenting the rising dollar figures to the public as they came to Council. Councilman Eddie Baughman said the initial price was only an estimate, and there may be some areas where Council could trim some of the cost. Still, he said, it may cost the Town $2,500 a day to host the exhibit.

“This is a good thing for community,” Parker said. “And we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that this is a solemn patriotic event that goes beyond dollars and cents.”

Shell Building

Costs are also up somewhat on the speculative building Council plans to construct on the grounds of Doko Park. Ed Parler, Blythewood’s Economic Development consultant, told Council Monday night that the original contract with E. Ralph Walden & Associates, Inc. for $18,900 only took the Town through the bid and selection of a contractor. Parler asked Council for an additional $3,900 to contract with Walden for construction management of the project, as well as an additional $5,500 for a civil engineering contract with Crescent Engineering, LLC.

“The $3,900 I thought was included for construction management in the original contract, but it wasn’t,” Utroska said. “I think we were all remiss on that.”

Council voted unanimously to accept the additional fees, which brings the cost of the project up to $28,300, Parler said.


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