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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Mar. 7, 200212:00 PM EST

City accepts bids for riding center

by: Glenn Tschimpke

by Glenn Tschimpke

Staff Writer

Six contractors are vying for the $30 million contract to develop the Cecil Equestrian and Recreation Complex. The proposals for the construction manager job were due last Friday to the City.

Part of the Better Jacksonville Plan, the 832-acre Cecil Equestrian and Recreation Complex includes a $15 million equestrian center, which will feature a 6,200-seat multi-purpose indoor arena, a 150-foot by 300-foot outdoor arena, two outdoor practice rings and trailer parking with utility hookups. Five million dollars is slated for a recreation complex that will include a community center, Olympic-sized pool and a softball complex. The final $5 million is earmarked for infrastructure improvements.

The groundbreaking is scheduled for this summer with the opening in mid-2003.

The contractors are a mixed bag of local and regional companies: Brasfield Gorrie of Birmingham, Ajax Building Corp. of Tallahassee, joint venture of local companies Perry McCall and CMTS, joint venture of Welbro Building Corp. of Maitland and PNG Constructors and local companies Dana B. Kenyon and The Stellar Group.

Equestrian and Recreation Complex project manager Taye’ Brown is currently reviewing the RFPs and expects to make recommendations to a Professional Services Evaluation Committee. The five-member PSEC will be composed of City division chief for procurement and supply Jackie Gibbs, assistant general counsel Scott Makar, finance administrator Shari Shuman, senior Better Jacksonville Plan administrator David Schneider and Brown.

“We expect to take those bids and take the recommendations to the Professional Services Evaluation Committee either on March 19 or March 26,” said City spokesperson Sharon Ashton. “So by the end of this month, we will hopefully have a construction manager on board for the equestrian center.”

The City has already hired local design consultants Gresham Smith and Partners and Virginia-based Boyington Rothschild Rowland Architects.

Of the $30 million price tag, $25 million will come from Better Jacksonville funds. An additional $5 million in private funds, which will be used for barns. Another $560,000 was appropriated from non-Better Jacksonville Plan funds.

“It will be a really great asset, not only for the Westside, but the entire community because we really expect this to draw from the entire region,” said Ashton.

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