01-25-2018 Bids opened for Paw Paw River County Park in Watervliet; “Van” tastic; Coloma

TEAM ZOE…strong! Several community members including two churches came together along with Brookfield Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Benton Harbor to purchase this 2011 Chrysler Town and Country for Zoe and her family. Zoe Phillips is a 9 year old from Hartford, she was orginally diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma in 2016, (rare childhood cancer) and was cancer free in September of 2017, only to find out in November that her cancer had came back. Tuesday night the vehicle was presented to Zoe and her parents, Augustina Contreras and Jason Phillips. Donations surpassed what was expected so not only did they pay for the vehicle they paid 6 months insurance up front. Dependable transportation has been a need and now with a newer vehicle they will be safe on the highway! Zoe and her family will be traveling to Devos Childrens hospital in Grand Rapids weekly for 3 months for a trial treatment. They will administer the antibodies treatment and then monitor her for two days. Her treatments started Wednesday January 24 with a full day of scans. (Amy Loshbough photo)

Bids opened for Paw Paw River County Park in Watervliet

By Annette Christie

The bids for the future Paw Paw River County Park were opened before the Berrien County Board of Commissioners Finance Committee at their Thursday, January 18 meeting, coming in a bit higher than what was budgeted.

The committee received six bids with quite a variation in the highest to the lowest.  The highest bid was $886,994 vs. the lowest at $646,321, submitted by TJM Services of Allegan.

The Finance Committee approved the referral of the bids to staff for review and approved the lowest bid if it meets all the specifications and requirements of the project.

Parks and Recreation Director Brian Bailey said that the bids would be turned over to architect M.C. Smith for review and he would present the findings of that review back to the Board of Commissioners. They will check references and other projects that the lowest bidder has worked with in the past.

With the budget being $556,000, the Board of Commissioners will have to consider some options for handling the difference.  There are some parts of the project that could be cut to get to the budgeted amount or the County Commissioners could consider finding an alternate funding source for the balance of the project.  Bailey is on the schedule for the Committee of the Whole meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 25, 2018 to discuss the project to the full board.

The construction calendar is to begin in March and is expected to be completed by the summer of 2018.

The funding for the project came about by Berrien County receiving a $296,000 grant from the State of Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, $300,000 from Berrien County, and a generous $25,000 donation from the “Friends of Paw Paw River County Park.”

Individuals with the North Berrien Community Development Organization ran a fundraising campaign led by Rick Rasmussen and presented a check in the amount of $25,000 in January 2017 to the Berrien County Board of Commissioners to be used for the creation of the new Paw Paw River C