The cost of a new restroom and trailhead at Dimple Dell Park has risen slowly to $148,000, causing concern among community activists who say government leaders are "flushing money down the toilet."
Salt Lake County commissioners decided Monday to delay a decision on whether to approve the latest expense for the facility - $3,702 for asphalt and a concrete sign that tells the purpose of the park.A horse trail begins at the restroom, located on a three-acre lot near 13th East and 104th South. Two concrete signs already are in place identifying the site as the start of the Wrangler Trailhead. A lawn, complete with a sprinkling system, stretches from the restroom to 13th East. The restroom is a few feet from a shopping center parking lot.
"I voted for the last four change orders, but I'm concerned now that we're violating the integrity of the low bidding process," Commissioner Dave Watson said Monday, joining other commissioners in asking that the request for more money be studied.
The original bid for the facility asked for $111,364, with a list of options that could bring the total to $125,048. The bid went to Bland Brothers Inc. in December 1986.
Since then, Sandy City has required that a curb, gutter and sidewalk be constructed near the restroom, and many of the options have been added.
Dr. John Shakula, a Sandy pediatrician and leader of a fight to preserve Dimple Dell Park as a wilderness area, said he thinks the restroom, the lawn and the paved road were a waste of money.
"The Wrangler Trailhead is a good example of poor planning," he said. "It's painful for me. I think they're flushing money down the toilet.
Shakula said the money could have been spent on fences and gates that would protect the park from vandals and people who want to dump trash.
Norm Sims, former director of the Association of Community Councils, said the restroom and landscaping were too expensive.
"I just think there are a lot better ways to spend money," he said. "The park needs so many other things. The whole county needs so many other things."
County officials say the road leading to the restroom and trail entrance was the most expensive item, costing the county $65,609. Owners of the shopping center spent a similar amount on the road.
The county spent $40,755 for the restroom and $13,684 for the landscaping.
Commissioner Mike Stewart, whose oversees the Parks and Recreation Division, said the landscaping was installed to let people know where the trail begins.