County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously agreed to approve a change order for Lee and Joe Jamail Bay Park that reduced the total cost of the project by $275,538.64, making the final cost of the project $4.7 million.

That was rare good financial news for a park project plagued by cost overruns and change orders.

County engineer Michael Shannon said the cost savings came from three main areas: savings from using an alternate bid on the design of a pedestrian bridge, unspent money that was planned to be spent on debris removal and the reconciliation of some costs that were lower than originally estimated.

The original contract for the project was originally estimated $4.5 million.

Construction crews found rubble about 10 feet deeper than anticipated, which slowed the work, and removed larger chunks of concrete than anticipated, officials said. Additionally, workers removed 20 wooden pilings used to support an old boat ramp, not six as originally planned. The cost increased about $555,000 above the bid.

The park, at 1600 61st St. in Galveston, officially opened in December. It features a fishing pier, picnic areas, a pedestrian bridge and public boat ramp.

The county has yet to pay the final bill of the project; it’s waiting for some final items to be completed, Shannon said.

Those items don’t include fixes to the boat ramp and nearby dock, which some have complained is too high and a potential safety hazard.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Clark on Tuesday did ask that one more thing be added to the list of final items to be completed. Clark asked that former County Commissioner Kevin O’Brien’s name be added to the large stone marker bearing the park’s name.

O’Brien was ousted by Joe Giusti in the May 2016 election, but Clark said he deserved recognition for the work he did to make the park happen.

“He was very instrumental in getting this project moved forward,” Clark said.

Marissa Barnett: 409-683-5257;

(2) comments

Steve Fouga

I wish a little of the savings could be used on ladders or platforms to allow boaters to more easily egress their boats onto the piers adjacent to the boat ramp. Just sayin'.

Louis Wortham

Ferguson: you buried the lead on this story. The Comissioners spent $4.7 million to build a boat ramp that doesn't function as a boat ramp; there's your lead. For a few thousand more boaters would be able to get in and out of their boats safely. I hope that we have a lawyer/boater who will publicly tell the comissioners court that anyone who is injured getting in or out of their boat at this ramp will be well represented in a claim against the county. I encourage everyone to contact every member of the comissioner's court and suggest that what is worth doing (building a boat ramp) is worth doing right (building a boat ramp where it is possible to safely get in and out of your boat). Otherwise, they have wasted millions in tax dollars and should be ashamed. It's difficult to find words to express how ridiculous, wasteful, and just plain wrong this failure is.

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