Yelm Dog Park project rebid to lower cost, project back on track

Formal opening set for spring '24


The Yelm Dog Park proposal is back on track after the City Council rebid a modified project that cost less than a previous bid.

The Yelm City Council first announced it would rebid the project in order to lower the cost of the overall project at its Sept. 5 study session.

Public Works employee Brad Chatwood discussed at the session what some of the cost-cutting measures included. The biggest measure included removing public bathrooms from the project’s blueprints.

“We put the restroom in because we knew that would be a big item. We put that in as an add alternate into the bid packet,” Chatwood said. “We asked for a bid for everything with the restroom, and then without the restroom and they gave us that bid.”

He added the City has $575,000 in grant money for the project, but the overall project costs $693,529.20. Though bathrooms won’t initially be included at the park’s opening next spring, Chatwood said the infrastructure will be included for a future restroom. The park itself spans just over four acres.

He said other cost-cutting measures included changes to the lighting plan and to the base course of the parking lot, but said the park will feature a dog-washing station, fencing for a fenced-in area, a paved and curbed parking lot and a storm pond.

“Prevailing wages are not cheap,” Chatwood said. “Our labor costs are huge, and [so are] materials. Steel is through the roof, and we have a lot of fencing here.”

Yelm Public Works Director Cody Colt said funding for the project comes out of Fund 302, and has “about $500,000 to $600,000” of unspent money in it. He added that money in the fund can only be used for parks or building structures.

“We have no projects budgeted for next year because there’s some things we think will happen, so we save that money up. (It) could be used to spend this extra $50-ish thousand dollars,” Colt said. “The big part of this is we have a lot of grant money involved, and if we don’t use the grant money we don’t get it later.”

Chatwood said the outer perimeter near the fencing of the dog park will feature a gravel path, while the interior of the park will be mulched in the middle. He added mulch is used at other dog parks and was recommended by the city engineer in order to prevent undergrowth coming through.

Councilor Brian Hess said he’s concerned about using mulch because of its thickness and the amount needed.

“To keep undergrowth from coming up, you’re looking at 6 inches to almost a foot of mulch. Then it comes to how stable it is when dogs are out running or doing the various things they do,” Hess said. “Nothing against dogs, but they eat almost anything, and is the mulch going to be something we’re liable for when all the sudden a dog goes and does something?”

Overall, Chatwood said he thinks the city can move forward with the bid they currently have, and add the restrooms later.