Joplin city councilman says taxpayers are paying for mistakes at - KOAM TV 7

Joplin city councilman says taxpayers are paying for mistakes at Joe Becker Stadium

Joplin, MO -

A Joplin city official says tax payers are paying for mistakes done while renovating a historic baseball stadium.

Renovation began at Joe Becker Stadium in September of last year, in order to house the Joplin Blasters.  The stadium was completed in time for the Blasters' opener in May of this year.

Last Monday, in a closed city council meeting, Councilman Ben Rosenberg made a motion to settle a bill with the project's contractor.  Councilman Bill Scearce seconded the motion, and it passed.  We talked to Scearce about how tax payer's money is being used to fix these mistakes.

Reconstruction of Joe Becker Stadium was different from most, if not all, other Joplin city projects.

"This was the only way you could do it and get it open on time," says Scearce.

Scearce says outside contractor Crossland Construction was given four pieces of paper for how the renovated stadium should look.

(The city gave these papers to Crossland and said what?) "Build a stadium," says Scearce.  "Just like that."

Scearce says there was a tight time frame of when the stadium would be built and open to the public.  According to Scearce, the city's own engineers were left out of the project.  Scearce says it was all up to Crossland workers, and they didn't know what they were digging into.  Soil samples were taken, but the results didn't arrive until after construction started.

"They did 231 thousand dollars of extra work," says Scearce.

Construction workers had to dig deeper holes for pillars holding up bleachers.  But Scearce says because the Crossland workers were in such a hurry, they didn't tell the city about this extra cost within 21 days of discovering the problem, as the city's contract with Crossland dictated.

So Crossland and the city decided to split the $231,000 bill, with the city paying $125,000, and Crossland swallowing the rest of the $106,000.  Scearce says he doesn't like the type of contract the city had with Crossland.  It's called a design and build contract.  But, he doesn't regret hurrying the project along.

"You could have had, had there not been the pressure to open the field on the day that the Blasters wanted to play.  The choice would've been moving from 2015 schedule to 2016 and then you would've had plenty of time to do it.  But you would've lost a year of baseball.  You might have lost the Blasters in total," says Scearce.

Scearce also says if the city didn't settle with Crossland, the issue may have gone to court, and a judge may have ruled more money is owed to Crossland.

Crossland workers have not returned our call for comment on this story.


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