Six months after its scheduled completion, a baseball field at Crockett Park will enter the last leg of construction this week after the city hired a new contractor to complete the long-delayed project.
Pearland-based Ardent Construction will take over the project after the city severed ties last month with contractor Hou-Scape and filed a lawsuit against the company Nov. 1 seeking money damages.
The city’s new contract with Ardent Construction is for $1.25 million, using some funds from the $3.6 million originally slated for the project, city spokeswoman Marissa Barnett said. The project will now cost an additional $110,000 but city officials believe the total cost could ultimately be less than what was originally projected, since some costs are still in dispute, Barnett said.
Work could begin as early as Wednesday at Avenue S and 53rd Street, Barnett said.
“Ardent Construction has worked with the city of Galveston before,” Barnett said. “The firm built the Lasker Park community pool on 43rd Street, which was completed in 2017.”
The baseball field was scheduled for completion this summer, but disputes about incomplete work and payment with Hou-Scape stalled construction.
While the company contends the city owes it $500,000 for material and labor, city officials said the company didn’t pay subcontractors or complete work for which the city already had paid.
“The city contends it has overpaid Hou-Scape, and has asked for an independent, third party audit,” Barnett said.
The city and Hou-Scape spent much of the summer in discussions about payment and quality of work.
The company stopped work in September over dispute of payment, President Paula Hill said.
“The ones who suffer the most during this dispute are the kids who aren’t using the baseball fields,” Hill said Tuesday. “The residents of the city of Galveston who, because the city decides to use another contractor, will have cost overruns of hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
The complex will include three baseball fields, basketball and volleyball courts, concession stands, a walking trail and playground, Barnett said.
The city expects substantial work on the Little League complex to finish by Jan. 31.
This is good news to island Little League players and parents, President of Island Little League Blanca Flores said.
“I’ve been stopped in the streets and our parents are very concerned,” Flores said. “They’ll be very excited.”
Registration opens for the spring ball season in mid-January, she said.
Construction delays meant Island Little League couldn’t use Crockett Park for the fall ball programs, despite a June opening ceremony for the ballfields, which included much fanfare.