MASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City last night approved the lone bid submitted for construction of the Willow Creek Riverwalk project.

The proposed riverwalk includes play elements, public art, access to nature, benches and picnic areas and will wrap around the south side of the parking lot between the Mason City Arena and Music Man Square. Only one bid was received for the project, that was from Henkel Construction of Mason City for $3.698 million, over the engineer’s estimated cost of the project of about $3.3 million.

City administrator Aaron Burnett says the overage can be covered through higher-than-expected revenues in the Fiscal Year 2025 budget in Local Option Sales and Service Tax and interest income.  “It’s always a struggle when you get tough bids. Obviously this is over what we had budgeted for this project, but I think that with the fact that we’ll see year-end be a strong year-end with funds that can be diverted towards capital projects to fund these overages and make sure the projects move forward.”

Burnett says his recommendation was to move forward with the one bid received since city staff and consultants don’t believe the price will improve if they re-bid the project.  “Talking about this over the last year, it’s really been a struggle as we go into the bidding environment to try and really have solid estimates as we go in. We knew that it would be likely higher just from what we’ve seen in the bid environment. That’s why the recommendation is to move forward is that frankly I don’t see any advantage to rejecting bids and going out to re-bid.”

The council unanimously approved the contract as well as one alternate to the project for $40,500 that includes additional lighting and a stone walkway toward the east from the riverwalk area.