Pricey remodel of low-income apartment and new playground

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by Chris Nagus

KMOV.com

Posted on September 20, 2010 at 9:43 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 10:11 AM

(KMOV) -- Fifty thousand dollars to remodel one low income apartment, and another $20,000 to construct a playground that's already falling apart. News 4 is investigating how a Missouri housing authority spent stimulus dollars, money that was supposed to get the economy moving again.

"We got our money's worth, I believe so," says Greg Thompson. Thompson is the executive director of the Ava Housing Authority in southern Missouri.

According to invoices the housing authority spent $43,737 dollars to remodel Apartment 17, they spent an additional $7,000 dollars to hire an architect. When asked whether residents in Ava would be shocked at the cost, Thompson answered, "probably, probably."

The housing authority spent the money to make the apartment 504 compliant, or handicap accessible. Click here to see where the money went.

Federal Construction Inc was awarded the contract for the apartment remodel. News 4 asked the project manager whether they would bid the same amount for a private job, "No, it wouldn't be competitive," said Tim Bartholomew. Bartholomew also said government projects cost more because they are required to pay prevailing wage (union rates) even in counties where union labor is nearly non existent.

In addition to the remodel, the housing authority spent $14,022 in material to build a playground, but when you factor in labor, it cost around $20,000 dollars to construct.

The playground's plastic borders are already falling apart, the playing surface is clearly not level. The $1,505 basketball hoop doesn't have any pavement underneath. The housing authority spent $1,021 for a picnic table. "I think they got taken, we could have done so much better, we could of did the same thing for a lot less money," says Chuck Bergfeld. Bergfeld saw pictures of the playground, he has sold playground equipment in West County for more than three decades.

Have you seen something in your community that leads you to ask "Is this why we're broke?" If you have something that needs investigating email us at broke@kmov.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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