San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

January 17th, 2008
Hold-up at Stagecoach Park?

Editor at Large

BUDA – The former superintendent of the Stagecoach Park project warned the Buda City Council Tuesday night that the park is at risk of not opening as scheduled in May.

Mike Davis resigned from Robinson Construction & Landscaping last week following disagreements with the city about construction standards and with the company about how he should be assigned. Davis walked abruptly from the council meeting after his remarks, leaving packets of documentation on a chair and remarking that Buda residents should take back their town.

Davis said he resigned after Robinson took him off the Stagecoach Park project. Davis said the company wanted him to work out of a new office in Forth Worth, but he wanted to see the Stagecoach project through, adding that a new superintendent, coming to the project cold, is unlikely to meet the project’s tightening time frame.

At stake for Buda is a $500,000 grant for the park from the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife (TPW), which made the full funds contingent on the project opening on time.

Buda City Manager Robert Camareno said the city could lose some of the funding, but not all of it, if the project doesn’t open on schedule. However, Camareno said, he believes the project will open on time.

“There will be no delay,” Camareno said last week. “Robinson Landscaping is our construction company and we expect no delays on the project.”

Paula Barbee, contract administrator for Robinson Landscaping & Construction, said the company has assigned a new superintendent to the project.

Davis said he believes Camareno wanted him off the Stagecoach Park project. Camareno declined comment about Davis last week. Davis also said, however, that Robinson angled for some time to place him in the company’s Fort Worth office.

In an interview and in documents he provided, Davis said he ran into conflict with city staff about a requirement to encase electrical lines in concrete along the back of the park property.

Shortly after breaking ground on the project last October, Davis said he noted detail drawings of a concrete duct bank for electrical wiring. Davis said he researched the National Electric Code (NEC), found no requirement for such an installation in a public park and determined that the concrete duct was unnecessary.

Davis said removal of concrete casing from the plans could have saved the city $30,000 and kept about ten concrete trucks from driving through parts of the park that would otherwise be undisturbed. Davis argued that such a concrete casing makes sense at an industrial plant, where the duct would protect the electrical lines in case of digging. However, he added, that wouldn’t be the case at the Stagecoach Park, where no construction is planned.

After Davis’ first request to remove the concrete duct was rebuffed, he proposed laying the electrical line in a trench 36-48 inches deep without the concrete duct. In his Request for Information (RFI) asking for the change, Davis argued that the REC only requires 18-inch depth. In places where rock wouldn’t allow more than 30 inches of depth, Davis proposed a two-inch concrete cap, adding that NEC requires only 12 inches of depth where such a cap is in place.

In response, according to a copy of the RFI provided by Davis, Buda City Engineer Stanley Fees required the cable to be buried no less than 24 inches deep with a two-inch concrete cap over the entire run of wiring, tracer/warning tape at a depth of 12 inches, and eight inches of sand bedding.

Fees said Tuesday night that the inclusion of concrete protection for electrical wiring is a safety issue.

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