Whitewater Park expansion cost, Ritz update on Rancho Mirage agenda

February 5th, 2014 | by Blake Herzog | Comments
whitewater sign

A stone sign greets visitors to Whitewater Park in Rancho Mirage. Michael Snyder/Desert Sun

The expansion of Whitewater Park will go under the Rancho Mirage City Council’s microscope again Thursday, as additional discussion, new items including lighted pickleball courts and the city approvals process have added both time and money to the project.

The approved $3.5 million construction budget has grown has been overshot and is now at $4.3 million, and plans won’t be ready to advertise the construction job for bids until the end of February or beginning of March, instead of the initial target of Feb. 7, according to a staff report from Public Works Director Bruce Harry.

Harry said in the report staff will be working with consultant Hermann & Associates on budget-reducing design options and have new construction calendars to present to the council at an 11 a.m. study session Thursday, prior to a vote at the 1 p.m. regular meeting. Depending on the route the council takes, the work could force relocation or cancellation of the annual Art Affaire in November 2014 or 2015.

The council’s regular meeting also includes a status update on the Ritz-Carlton, which must be open by March 1—three and a half weeks from now—under an incentive loan agreement between the city and developer Kam Sang Company worth up to $20 million.

Kam Sang project manager John Hicks has been delivering the council updates, and at the Jan. 16 meeting expressed concern over resolving a landscaping issue on a strip of land along Frank Sinatra Drive, but City Attorney Steve Quintanilla said Monday he expects the issue to be resolved in time for Kam Sang to be issued a certificate of occupancy for the resort by March 1.

Quintanilla did not know ezactly when Ritz-Carlton plans to open the hotel. A call to Rancho Mirage General Manager Doug Watson was not immediately returned Wednesday.

There is still no way to make a reservation through the hotel’s website: http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/RanchoMirage/Default.htm

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