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County mayor vetoes athletic facilities project change order


Staff Writer

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The Washington County Commission is ready to see the county athletic facility project at Boones Creek in its next phase, but now, that won’t happen until bids are received for the project.

Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy vetoed a resolution to authorize a change order for BurWil Construction Co. to do preliminary work on the athletic facility site for no more than $800,000 after it was passed by the Washington County Commission at its Monday, June 24 meeting.

“When we got to looking at the construction documents to find out where to go to reference the change order,” Grandy told the Herald & Tribune, “it turns out there really wasn’t anything in there that allowed a change order like that to take place. So what I did was veto the resolution that was passed by the commission so that it wasn’t enacted.”

Now a new resolution, which was passed by the county’s budget committee on Wednesday, July 10, calls for an open bid process. The new resolution will be considered by the commission at the upcoming Monday, July 22 meeting.

“It talks about the same amount of money, a $800,000 maximum. it talks about phase one being the site work,” Grandy said, “the grading of the dirt to make it level for the fields and putting in the underground utility and seeding and that sort of thing. But it does include a bid process. That was probably the biggest piece of the change. We couldn’t make the change order through the original contractor, BurWil.”

Sending the next phase of the project out to bid will likely set the project back, Grandy said, with bids expected to go out in late July or early August.

“It’ll slow (the project) down a little, but the reality is the track wasn’t going to be ready and the fields weren’t going to be ready at the beginning of school anyway because of the amount of time it took the committee to sort of get to where they were,” Grandy said. “So unfortunately, we had to put it on pause for a few weeks.

“But when you think about it, that (Commerce, Industry and Agriculture) committee’s been wrestling around with this thing since November, so to get it right and do it the right way, we just have to take the extra time.”

The CIA Committee took over the discussion of the athletic complex after a joint task force between Johnson City and Washington County officials was dissolved and the city opted out of partnering with the county on a potential sports complex at the site. Since then, the committee has discussed plans for the athletic facilities project as well as getting the site at least partially complete by the time school starts on Aug. 5.

“We’re trying make sure the children have something other than piles of dirt this fall,” CIA Chairman Phil Carriger said at the June meeting. “We’ve looked at a this thing. We’ve talked about it. It’s time to do something for the children.”

At the June meeting, multiple commissioners were also concerned that the resolution didn’t involve receiving bids for the next phase of the project.

“This is a considerable amount of money,” Commissioner Mike Ford said at the June meeting. “I just wonder, wouldn’t it be prudent to put this out for big? It’s a government project. If I’m wrong, someone tell me I’m wrong.”

The next county commission meeting will be held on Monday, July 24, at 6 p.m. at the George Jaynes Justice Center, located at 108 W Jackson Blvd. #1210, Jonesborough.