Solana Beach council rejects construction bids for Veterans Honor Courtyard

Although city and county officials broke ground on a courtyard that will honor past, present and future services members in November, the project has since stalled.

The Solana Beach City Council rejected the project bids as part of the Jan. 14 consent calendar, a list of items approved with a single vote and no discussion, but Councilman Mike Nichols noted he was disappointed that the bids were “nearly double” what the architect’s estimate had anticipated for the project.

“We were a bit surprised to receive those bids,” Nichols said.

After the ceremonial groundbreaking on Veterans Day, the design team finalized plans for the project and advertised for construction bids. The city received only two bids by the deadline, one from Oceanside-based Straight Line General Contractors for a little more than $441,000, and another from San Diego-based Palm Engineering Construction Company for nearly $631,700.

Located at La Colonia Park, the Veterans Honor Courtyard will feature a stone veneer wall with military seals behind a reflecting pool, honoring all U.S. veterans, living and deceased, as well as those who are serving at home and abroad.

The project is funded by city and county grants, as well as private donations. To raise funds for the project, former Mayor Tere Renteria, who has spearheaded the project, and other volunteers have sold about $35,000 in 1-foot square tiles that will be installed in the courtyard to honor service members.

Approximately $243,700 is available for the construction of the courtyard and perimeter fence along the adjacent apartment building parking lot on the east side of the park, according to the staff report.

Despite rejecting the bids, Nichols said the project is a priority for the council and the city. City staff is working with the architect, Van Dyke Landscape Architects, to revise the project plans and cut costs. Once the revised plans are final, the project will be rebid.

“Although it’s disappointing this evening that we’re rejecting the bids that were sent out, I want the public to know that it’s still very much a priority for this council and for the city to make it happen,” Nichols said. “We’re anticipating being back out to bid with some revisions to those plans in about two months.”