FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Fayetteville City Council met on Tuesday, Nov. 9 to discuss recent agendas and heard that the new parking deck could run at least $2.9 million over budget.
The budget, previously estimated to be $10 million in 2018, was not a part of a bond issue voters approved in April, 2019, which is $31.6 million to build the arts corridor — now being called “The Ramble.”
The budget increase largely has to do with the pandemic causing labor and supply issues, many in concrete and steel, which are impacting the structure, according to Chief Financial Officer Paul Becker.
The city attempted to lower costs by cutting $1.1 million out of the design for the deck, but projections are still over $10 million according to bids received from city construction workers.
The council is looking at two options to adjust to the increase. One is using money from the $31.6 bond issue and the other is unreserved money in the city’s general fund. Becker said he estimates there will be around $11.8 in unreserved funds at the end of the year.
“We can examine other ways to help support the corridor,” Becker said. “But if we’re going to build it, these costs are rising dramatically the longer we wait.”
There is also a chance Fayetteville will receive funds from a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package Congress passed. Since the construction on the arts corridor and deck will take a few years, Becker believes funds may become available in that time.
A $1.23 million contract with Nabholz Construction is pending before construction can begin on the deck, located at the northwest corner of Dickson Street and West Avenue. Construction is scheduled to start on Nov. 22.
Chief of Staff Susan Norton said budget overruns on the parking deck will have no bearing on the overall project moving forward.
The deck make up for lost spaces once the Walton Arts Center parking lot becomes a part of the arts corridor. Construction on the gathering space won’t begin until the parking deck is finished.
The deck is projected to be finished by January 2023.