City Council Accepts Bid For Timberton Park Complex Rebuild

City Council Accepts Bid For Timberton Park Complex Rebuild

Hattiesburg, Mississippi – On Tuesday, March 5, 2024, the Hattiesburg City Council unanimously accepted the bid for the Timberton Park Softball Complex, authorizing Mayor Toby Barker to begin executing the contracts to move forward with the restorations.

This move follows seven years of wrangling with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which included multiple appeals, rescinded allocations, an arbitration case before the U.S. Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA).

Timberton Park Complex was destroyed in the January 21, 2017 EF-3 tornado that killed four individuals and left significant damaged to several neighborhoods in South and East Hattiesburg. Timberton Park and Fire Station 2, were the two public facilities still awaiting restoration.

In 2018, a fire destroyed the press box at the complex. Both the park and the press box will be rebuilt as part of the upcoming project.

The City awarded the project to Culpepper Construction & Masonry, LLC for a contract in the amount of approximately $2.9 million. Construction is slated to begin in summer 2024.

The park portion of the complex rebuild will be paid for by FEMA, MEMA and city funds. The press box will be paid for by both city insurance proceeds and general funds.

“This project stands as both one of the most frustrating processes I have ever experienced as an elected official but also one of the most important. It has taken a significant amount of time, but we went to all lengths to go after what our city is owed,” Mayor Toby Barker said. “Bringing this park back was one of our earliest commitments to this neighborhood, and it is worth every investment in both time and money for residents and future generations. I appreciate all the hard work from city staff – particularly CAO Ann Jones and City Clerk Kermas Eaton – along with our engineers, consultants and attorneys, for navigating the endless FEMA bureaucracy and finding a path forward to today.”

During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Ward 5 Councilman Nick Brown said, “We’re one step closer. I’d like to the community for being patient with us as we’ve been battling back and forth with FEMA to get what’s needed for our community. It’s one of the parks that’s in the heart of my community and will be utilized greatly. Once we get past this, it’s going to be great for not only Ward 5 but for the entire city.”

Timberton Complex Timeline

January 21, 2017 – Timberton Complex is destroyed by Tornado

May 1, 2017 – FEMA Cost Estimation Format calculates damages totaling $565,572 to Timberton that was based solely on a site visit by City Staff and FEMA and not an engineer’s report as required by FEMA for Large Category Projects.

June 20, 2018 – The City of Hattiesburg appeals the original damage estimates of $565,572 to FEMA that damages actually total $2,455,418.00

October 18, 2018 – Fire destroys the large pressbox at Timberton.  It had sustained minor damage during the 2017 tornado.  City of Hattiesburg Insurance was paid in the amount of $147,287.43.

April 1, 2019 – FEMA issues revised Cost Estimating Format of an additional $1,888,182 for a total of $2,456,078.48 obligated for repairs at Timberton Complex.

August 20, 2019 – Congressman Palazzo announces the obligation of $1.4 million dollars for Timberton Complex in Hattiesburg

September 29, 2019 – City of Hattiesburg receives obligation letter of 2,456,078.48 for Timberton Complex.  However, it was determined that approximately $957,683.00 had been omitted from cost revisions related to project management and construction trade requirements such as permits, safety & security, bonds, insurance and architect/engineering costs

September 26, 2019 – The omissions related to the most recent obligation was submitted to FEMA for correction.  No decisions have been sent to the City of Hattiesburg.

January 21, 2020 – 3rd Anniversary of the January 21, 2017 tornado that destroyed Timberton Park.

February 13, 2020 – City of Hattiesburg receives a letter from FEMA that $1,717,425.48 of the $2,456,078.48 obligated for repair of Timberton had been de-obligated due to a FEMA re-inspection of the project.

****Repair of Timberton Complex is estimated at $3.4 million related to the 2017 tornado and $275,000 related to the replacement of the burned pressbox

April 29, 2020 – City of Hattiesburg files appeal of the February 13, 2020, Eligibility Determination Memo received from FEMA.

August 19, 2020 – City of Hattiesburg receives confirmation email that FEMA has received the first appeal for 4295-DR-MS City of Hattiesburg Project Worksheet (PW) 44.

December 4, 2020 – City of Hattiesburg receives email update from Mike Siler, MEMA Director of Public Assistance, that the appeal for 4295-DR-MS City of Hattiesburg Project Worksheet (PW) 44-Timberton remains in process.

January 28, 2021 – City of Hattiesburg receives email update from Mike Siler, MEMA Director of Public Assistance, that the appeal for 4295-DR-MS City of Hattiesburg Project Worksheet (PW) 44-Timberton is still in FEMA Review.

August 16, 2021 – City of Hattiesburg receives determination letter denying the appeal for 4295-DR-MS City of Hattiesburg PW (44) Timberton Park.

October 14, 2021 – City of Hattiesburg files a Request for Arbitration by the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) under the arbitration rights set forth in section 423 of the Stafford Act.

January 20, 2022 – The Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) determined with finality the statement of work and the associated cost estimates to repair the damage to the softball complex shown to have been caused by the January 2017 disaster, as well as allowable and unallowable proposed hazard mitigation costs.  This means that the CBCA agreed that the damages exist but not with the hazard mitigation of replacing the ballfield lights from wood poles to concrete or of replacing 5500 feet of ballfield fencing as being cost-effective.

January 3, 2023 – COH notified by FEMA that PW44 Timberton Park has been obligated.

January 6, 2023 – MEMA gives COH the go ahead to enter into the Construction Documents and Bidding Stage of the engineering contract with Neel Schaffer for the scope contained in the PW44.  The COH, has asked FEMA to consider mitigating the ballfield lighting to concrete poles from wood poles to mitigate future damage to the system.

March 22, 2023 – FEMA issues a determination to the City’s request to mitigate the wood poles to concrete or steel poles.  FEMA denies the eligibility as not cost-effective under the PAPPG test application selected.  However, wooden poles do NOT meet wind load requirements under current code.  There was not a determination stated from this perspective.

August 14, 2023 – Bid documents are nearing completion and 90% documents will be sent to FEMA before Friday, August 18, 2023, for their review.  The goal is to have bid documents to City Council on September 19, 2023, for permission to advertise the project.

October 3, 2023 – COH City Council authorizes publication of advertisement for Timberton Complex, upon concurrence with FEMA.

November 16, 2023 – COH opened bids for the repairs at Timberton Complex.  Three competitive bids were received.

December 4, 2023 – COH forwards the certified bid tab to FEMA for concurrence.  The bid specifications, as required by FEMA, included the replacement of the ballfield light poles with wood poles.  During the bidding process, alternative bids for concrete and steel poles were taken for comparison purposes to the wooden pole prices.  The concrete pole bids came in lower than the wooden poles included in the base bid.  The COH would prefer to use the more storm resistant, concrete poles.

March 5, 2024 – Hattiesburg City Council accepts bid from Culpepper Construction & Masonry, LLC.