A long-awaited water main replacement project, along with a significant beautification effort, is expected to be getting underway soon in downtown Overton. And it promises to trigger a full makeover of the central commercial district of Moapa Valley.
In a meeting held on Thursday, July 13, the Moapa Valley Water District (MVWD) board of directors voted to award a bid for the extensive project which has been in the planning stage for about two years now. The process has brought together a complex collaboration between MVWD staff, Clark County officials and Nevada Department of Transportation planners.
The project was awarded to local contractor Eagle View Contractors, which was the lowest responsive bidder at $3,461,988. Two other bids included JNJ Engineering at $3,471,744 and CG&B Enterprises at $4,370,805.
In last week’s meeting, MVWD General Manager Joe Davis said that the project began as a main line replacement in the downtown area. The work will significantly expand the capacity of the MVWD system through the business district in order to, for the first time, meet the required fire flow in the area.
In addition, the project aims to enhance the walkability of the main street district with additional crosswalks, curb bump-outs with trees and other landscaping features and more.
Davis explained that only $356,000 in MVWD funds had been budgeted for the project. County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick had worked to secure nearly $2.5 million in grant funding from the county to assist in the lion’s share of the cost.
“Marilyn (Kirkpatrick) has been very supportive in getting this project moving,” Davis said. “She recognized the need for the water line replacement. But she also saw an opportunity for improving the downtown area.”
Kirkpatrick has been pushing for a revitalization of downtown Overton to make it more of a desination site, similar to the Santa Clara, Utah historical district. She is working to find additional economic development funding to provide new downtown signage and to help downtown business owners to further beautify their buildings.
On the current MVWD project, Davis said that there are still uncertainties to work out with NDOT on some of the details of the project. These could result in some additional costs where the district would have to come up with another $200,000 from the 2023-24 fiscal year budget to wrap up the project, he said.
Davis said that the funds were available due to some delays in another main line replacement scheduled for the Glendale area. The district had been scheduled to receive a federal grant to begin that project and had budgeted $600,000 for its share of the matching grant. But some paperwork delays at the federal level have put the project on the back burner, he said
“So that is where we were anticipating taking those extra funds from in our budget,” Davis said.
With that much in place, Davis said that the downtown project could begin showing signs of commencing within the next month; presuming an approval from the board on awarding the bid.
Board members asked what specifically the additional $200,000 would be used for in the project. Davis responded that it was mainly in engineering costs.
“We have designed and redesigned on this project,” Davis said. “Then NDOT comes in and makes changes here and there and we have to redesign the redesign. It all adds up.”
Davis explained one example of this. The MVWD-hired engineers had done a landscape design on the trees and other foliage planned for the curb pullouts along the Boulevard. But then NDOT officials had required that the district hire a landscape engineer to stamp the same plans.
“I have to go get another engineer to stamp the plans that are already done,” he said. “But of course, they won’t stamp somebody else’s plan. So they are going to end up having to put their own input into it. It is just simple things like that that add up.”
MVWD board member Ryan Wheeler praised district staff for their diligence in following through with the long process.
“This is going to install a needed water line, put in asphalt from curb to curb, beautify the entire downtown area, and most of it is funded outside of the MVWD,” Wheeler said. “I think it is great and the staff has worked hard and well with other agencies to bring it about.”
Board member Lindsey Dalley agreed with all of this. But he expressed frustration with the need for added expenses. “I agree that this is a great thing and our staff has done great in showing due diligence,” he said. “But I get really frsutrated when the ratepayers don’t get as much value for the money as they could have because of things like this. And unfortuantely, it has nothing to do with the water district. It is entirely out of our control.”
But MVWD board chairman Kelby Robison emphasized again the positive in the project. “I think that the ratepayers are still getting way more in all of this,” he said. “The county is putting in so much money. And a lot of that is due to Joe (Davis); your hard work with the other stakeholders and following it through.”
Wheeler made the motion to award the bid as proposed. The motion was approved with a unanimous vote.