Arlington park project on hold after bids deemed too high

WASHINGTON – Plans to expand Long Bridge Park in Arlington are on hold after bids for the pool and gym project came in significantly higher than officials expected.

Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan said Friday that she will delay construction plans for the aquatics facility, gym and additional parkland. She called the high bids “disappointing.”

The county board was expected to approve construction contracts early this year. Instead, staff will provide options how to proceed to the board, Donnellan said in a statement.

Voters approved a bond issue to help pay for the park’s expansion in 2012. To pay for the $79.3 million project, the county also planned to tap money left from a 2004 bond issue that paid for the first phase of the park.

The county did not release the results of the bids.

Opponents of the project say the county shouldn’t spend taxpayer money on high-end athletic facilities.

However supporters say they are excited for the second phase of the park to begin. The park opened about two years ago with three, full-size soccer fields and a scenic walking and jogging path.

“Long Bridge Park is an ambitious project for our community, an infrastructure investment that is transforming a one-time industrial wasteland from a brownfield to an iconic gateway on the Potomac. It will provide multiple recreational opportunities for our growing population and for future generations,” Donnellan said.

“In the months ahead, the county board and the community will continue their careful consideration of the costs and benefits of building and operating this facility as we shape the (fiscal year) 2015 budget,” she said.

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