County Road 42 rendering

A concept design by Bolton & Menk for signage and landscaping work to be done on the northwest corner of the County Road 42 and 27 intersection.

Plans to beautify the County Road 42 and Dakota Avenue intersection were halted this week due to the project’s price tag.

The project marked the next step in a years-long discussion about how to beautify the city and distinguish it from neighboring communities. On Tuesday, the Savage City Council rejected bids for the project and authorized the re-advertisement of bids at a later date.

Last fall, the city hired Bolton & Menk to design city signage and landscaping concepts for the northwest corner of the intersection. In February, the council chose a design for the intersection meant to reflect the city’s “naturally resourceful” tagline with natural grasses, boulders and a berm with changing elevation.

Natural prairie grasses currently grow on the site, but “many residents do not understand this and complain about the unkept appearance,” according to city documents.

City officials approved plans and specs for the beautification project in July and opened for bids in August. Only two bids were received, and the lowest offer landed around 20% higher than the engineer’s estimate.

Blackstone Contractors LLC’s bid landed at approximately $320,000 and Derau’s landed at approximately $454,000.

The engineer’s estimate sat around $267,000.

City Engineer Seng Thongvanh said there’s just not an appetite for this type of work. Contractors are busy, he said, and they’re usually looking to complete — rather than start — projects this time of year.

Thongvanh said he hopes a better bid price will come next spring with hopes of completing construction in 2021.

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