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DOWNTOWN ARENA Company declines to sue city for rebidding landscaping jobs



Published: Sat, June 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The minority contractor didn't submit a proposal for the rebid.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A Hubbard company that threatened a federal lawsuit against Youngstown because the city's board of control opted to rebid landscaping work at the convocation center is not going to sue.

The board rejected bids for the work May 24. People's Choice Landscaping, a minority-owned firm based in Youngstown, submitted the apparent lowest of three bids for the job with a $110,761 proposal.

But there were numerous problems with the bid, city officials said, including the failure to have a required bid bond, and not including the cost of topsoil needed for the job.

Instead of going with the next lowest bid for the work, $169,780 from Landscape By Design, a Hubbard company, the board opted to throw out all the bids and start over. That drew objections from Landscape and the threat of a lawsuit to stop the bidding process.

John C. Ross, the company's attorney, had said last month that the city tried to steer the contract to People's.

"I think it's unfortunate what happened because it wasn't necessary to rebid this project," he said Friday. "It's going to cost more, which usually happens on rebids. But we're going to get on with our life and not sue."

Changing some aesthetics

The main reason for rebidding the project is arena officials had requested changes to the proposal including the types and locations of trees and shrubs, said Carmen S. Conglose Jr., the city's deputy director of public works.

The changes increased the estimated cost of the project from $194,800 to about $225,000, said Michael Perry of Hunt Construction Group, the Dallas company overseeing the construction of the arena.

Also, this work was viewed as a job that would encourage participation of small, minority- and women-owned businesses in the arena project, Conglose said. To further encourage those businesses to seek this work, the city split the contract into two: one for the landscaping work and the other to provide topsoil, he said.

Other bids

But People's Choice opted not to participate in the rebid. Three other companies submitted proposals, including Landscape By Design.

The apparent low bids for the landscaping and the topsoil came from the same company. Executive Landscaping, a Vienna company, submitted a $159,500 proposal for the landscaping work and $39,000 for the topsoil.

Landscape By Design had the apparent high bid for the landscape work at $179,183, and the apparent middle bid for the topsoil at $58,800.

Brookside Lawn Service of Medina offered to do the landscape job for $163,331 and provide the topsoil for $76,000.

Hunt is reviewing the bids, opened last week, Conglose said. It isn't known when the board of control will award the projects, but it shouldn't take too long to review, he said.

skolnick@vindy.com




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