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.