A ceremonial groundbreaking for the $280,000 Milaca Area Veterans Memorial has been set for 3:30 p.m. next Wednesday, Nov. 11. in Trimble Park.
Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jerry Lang will speak at the Veterans Day event.
Lang is known in the Milaca community for serving in the U.S. Armed Forces for more than 40 years, retiring from service in 2014 with the rank of major general and having served tours in Bosnia/Herzegovina in 2003-04 as part of a NATO Stabilization Force and in Iraq in 2009-10 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Milaca City Council members authorized bid advertising for the first phase of the project at their Oct. 19 meeting after getting an update from Dave Blommel, senior engineer with the St. Cloud office of engineering, architectural, environmental and planning consulting firm Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc.
The memorial is designed to serve as a long-lasting, respectful memorial to all military veterans in the Milaca area.
Trimble Park has been chosen as the site and a local committee is collaborating with the City of Milaca and SEH to design and construct the tribute to veterans.
Major bid quantities in the Milaca Area Veterans Memorial Project’s first phase include 1,135 square feet of concrete block pavers, and 2,515 square feet of concrete sidewalk, and five aluminum flag poles with decorative lighting.
“We are at the point where we are ready to receive bids for the project,” Blommel told the council. “We are estimating we are just shy of $200,000 for the main infrastructure piece of the project. This will be for the concrete, the sidewalk, the brick pavers, the foundation for the heavier monuments, the flagpoles, the seeding, restoration, and the civil works portion of the project.”
Granite monuments for the project were not included in bid-related documents reviewed last month by city leaders.
“At this time, the Milaca Area Veterans Memorial Committee would like to quote those out separately,” Blommel said, adding those times totaled about $65,000.
City Manager Tammy Pfaff confirmed the granite monuments weren’t included bid estimate. She was responding to a question asked by Mayor Pete Pedersen.
“We took the granite out and moved it to next year because we didn’t want to have a contractor do a mark-up on it,” Blommel explained. “That’s an easy one to quote out to granite companies. It still keeps us within the competitive bidding requirements for this project. We will get multiple quotes for the monuments themselves in the spring, or when the committee has the money to do that.”
Pedersen wanted to know the total project cost for the new park memorial.
Blommel said when engineering and other related costs were added, that figure was close to $280,000.
“The committee was not actually looking to award bids in November,” Blommel said. “They wanted to get them in, and probably make the award in December.”
Pedersen asked if it would be possible for Public Works Supervisor Gary Kirkeby to perform certain tasks that could be removed from bidding process.
Blommel said cutting down smaller trees might be one task city workers could complete.
Pedersen also asked about a three-year timeline for completing the project.
“When the committee first met, we talked about funding options,” Blommel explained. “We are at first phase. The timing on the actual monuments can be flexible, based on fundraising income. The park will still function as a nice space.”