Stamper Park Train Cars

Joyce Crane crew members remove train cars in September 2020 from the Longview Fire Department’s training facility in the Stamper Park neighborhood.

The city of Longview will re-evaluate the scope of a project to build a new police and fire training center after bids came in at more than twice the expected cost.

On Thursday, the City Council agreed to reject the four bids the city had received as part of the 2018 bond project. An architect’s estimate had placed the facility’s cost at $2 million. Bids ranged from almost $4.2 million to more than $4.9 million.

“We’re rejecting all the bids,” city spokesman Shawn Hara said, adding that project planners would in the next few days begin re-evaluating the project’s scope and see how some project costs can be reduced. Bids will then again be accepted for the project.

Hara said costs of construction materials have increased, necessitating the need to re-evaluate the project.

The total $104 million bond package allocated $52.4 million for public safety projects, including the new police and fire training center. The project’s main purpose is to relocate a long-controversial fire training center in the Stamper Park neighborhood. The city already has removed tank cars from the area that the fire department used for training on how to respond to train derailments.

Some training facilities still remain in the Stamper Park area, however, but Hara said the remaining items will be removed.

“We’re not abandoning the plan to still remove all of that,” he said.

The new training center will be built on about 90 acres in the Longview Business Park off Eastman Road.

Also on Thursday, the City Council approved the five year capital improvements program, with almost $11.71 million worth of projects in 2021-22; funding comes from a variety of sources, including American Rescue Act Plan funding, water and sewer funds, federal Community Development Block Grant funds, Texas Department of Transportation, other grants and the city’s general fund.

Projects included in the program are:

■ George Richey water utilities relocations as part of the Texas Department of Transportations widening of George Richey Road from Gilmer Road to the city limits: $3,468,104

■ Water system improvements, 6,000 feet of water main to replace undersized lines at Mobberly, High and Sabine: $900,000

■ Berkley Street sewer, drainage and street work: $256,000

■ Lake Cherokee Water Treatment Plant improvements: $1.74 million,

■ 2022 wastewater system improvements, replacing sewers that are beyond maintenance life at Maledon, High and other locations: $900,000,

■ George Richey and McCann Road traffic signal: $400,000

■ Construction of Eastman and Birdsong traffic signal: $370,000

■ Cargill Trail restroom at Fourth Street: $175,000

■ Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center drainage improvements: $1 million

■ Alta Street drainage improvement projects: $200,000

■ Bridge and culvert improvement projects: $460,000

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