Price tag continues to increase on revamping Green Park Road

By MAGGIE MENDERSKI

The price tag on the planned redevelopment of Green Park Road continues to increase as Green Park officials prepare to begin the road’s improvements.

With the purchase of three properties along Green Park Road, city officials are nearly ready to seek bids for the project, which will be funded by a federal grant awarded in 2003. However, the city already has spent more than $760,000 on the project that will not reimbursed with grant funds.

The East-West Gateway Council of Governments in 2003 approved the federal grant funding 80 percent of Green Park Road’s original reconstruction cost of $2.425 million. As projected then, the city’s share would have been roughly $485,000.

But the estimated cost to redevelop Green Park Road is expected to rise due to such factors as the city’s plans to construct a pedestrian pathway along the road’s north side instead of a sidewalk down the more residential south side and also because of estimated increases in construction costs since 2003.

Green Park received a $4,000 grant from the Municipal Park Grant Commission to assist in the planning phase of the new pedestrian pathway along the road’s north side.

Green Park Mayor Tony Konopka told the Call a current estimate of the cost of construction will not be available until the city seeks bids for the road project.

A meeting was planned Tuesday — after the Call went to press — to discuss when the bidding would occur.

“Well, there’s always concerns about costs,” Konopka said. “We’ll know more when we actually put it out for bid. We know what we have spent up until this point, but we won’t know more until it goes out for bid.

“The grant was for two million approximately, and if it was $2 million, the grant will cover 80 percent of the $2 million,” Konopka added.

So far, the city has spent $97,697 in consulting fees for right-of-way acquisition and an additional $663,000 to acquire three properties along Green Park Road.

The Board of Aldermen voted to hire Mark Payken of Payken Consulting to perform right-of-way acquisition. A resolution adopted June 3, 2008, initially capped Payken’s fees at $15,000.

However, Payken provided three different services for Green Park.

The right-of-way acquisition for the road project included the purchase of the three properties and 53 temporary construction easements.

After Payken and the board had taken a greater look at the scope of the project, they determined fees would be much higher than anticipated.

Aldermen then adopted another resolution allowing the city to pay Payken a maximum of $81,000.

Additionally, Payken handled project management and assumed the responsibilities a director of public works or city engineer would normally handle.

“I assumed that role because no one was doing it, and the project was just kind of spinning its wheels,” he said. “Basically, it was free for them while the right-of-way acquisition was going on.”

After the acquisition was complete, the board opted to pay Payken to continue project management.

In the spring, the Board of Aldermen approved an additional $4,750 to compensate Payken’s management services.

In June, the city agreed to pay Daniel Lanham $298,000 for his land and home at 9907 Green Park Road.

This property was appraised at $118,500 for 2009, according to county records.

Lanham’s land was the third of three properties the city needed to purchase to begin the planned redevelopment of Green Park Road.

Earlier this year, the city paid Robert and Joan Cooper $165,000 for their property at 9925 Green Park Road.

Additionally, Meagan Kaiser received $200,000 for her land and home at 9915 Green Park Road.

County records listed the appraisal for the Coopers’ property at $138,300 and Kaiser’s property at $118,800.

Tim Graham of Graham Appraisal Co. appraised each home for Green Park.

Graham’s appraisals were significantly higher than St. Louis County real-estate records, valuing Lanham’s property at $170,000, the Coopers’ at $152,000 and Kaiser’s at $150,000.

Lanham’s land was needed for right of way and to swap St. Louis County for an equal amount of ground that would be used to widen Green Park Road while the other two properties were needed for a right-turn lane at Tesson Ferry Road and Green Park Road to ease traffic through the intersection.

Payken was involved in the process with St. Louis County that involved compensating St. Louis County for a strip of right of way along Clydesdale Park.

The city could not take any part of the park without replacing it with land of equal value, and Payken represented the city in this endeavor.

“This process is very protracted and very complicated because there are always federal regulations you have to satisfy,” Payken said. “I represented the city in that negotiation and represented their interest.”

As of July 20, Green Park had paid Payken Consulting $97,697. These expenses along with the $663,000 the city paid for the Lanham, Cooper and Kaiser properties total $760,697.

Furthermore, these costs are not covered in the grant that will fund 80 percent of engineering and construction expenses, according to Tom Weis of the Weis Design Group.

Additionally, Weis Design Group’s fees have put a dent in the project’s budget.

While the fees will be included as part of the federal grant, the city had paid a total of $253,992.80 for the company’s engineering services as of July 20.

As proposed, Green Park Road will be extended by two extra feet per lane, resulting in 12-foot lanes.

A sidewalk is planned for the north side of the road as well as an additional right turn lane at the intersection with Tesson Ferry.

The project plans also call eliminating the drop off and ditches on either side of the road and replacing them with vertical curbing.

Consequently, a storm sewer will be installed across the road’s length.

Improvements also will be made at the Mueller Road, Lisa Marie Court and Kohrs Lane intersections, according to the project plans.

City officials also are planning a second phase of redeveloping Green Park Road.

That phase of Green Park Road’s reconstruction will run from Lin Valle Drive and will include widening the Gravois Creek bridge.