Financial issues put fire station reconstruction on hold

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 7:15 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2023 at 7:29 PM CDT
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TRUMANN, Ark. (KAIT) - A new project for the Trumann Fire Station is on hold due to a financial roadblock.

It has been almost two years since the Trumann Fire Station 1 was destroyed by a tornado. Since then, the city has been working to try and rebuild it.

Renderings were released last month for the new station. When the bids came back, only two contractors were interested, and both had prices of $2 million over budget which created an issue.

“I made the joke I don’t care if it is made out of Legos and super glue we need a fire station,” Fire Chief Revis Kemper said.

Kemper is not happy about the prices presented by the contractors, saying it is not fair.

“We thought that it was going to be in budget, the building that they had designed, and when the bids came in it was just astronomical, it was way outside of our budget almost double,” Kemper said.

Trumann allotted $2.6 million to build the fire station, but one bidder came in at $4.6 million and the other offered to build it for over $5 million, which forced them to restart.

“It is not going to cost more, we are going to make the changes because we don’t have the money, we have what we have at $2.6 million and that is what we are going to build it at,” Kemper said.

Unfortunately, those were the only options for Kemper and the city. They were surprised when there were only two bids and the groups were also unprepared.

“The fact we only had two bidders hurts. The fact that the bidders weren’t prepared shows maybe their heart wasn’t in it,” Kemper said.

Kemper said there were a few factors that made this project so expensive. One factor was that the architect who put together the renders put up a roof that was far too expensive. Inflation is the other factor.

“I think it is a combination of the cost of materials and labor and that everyone is busy building other things right now,” Kemper said.

The city has 30 days to make changes and look for other contractors.