Reprinted with permission from The Republic newspaper, October 26, 2023

City officials are allocating $7 million for exterior campus improvements at NexusPark.

The Columbus Board of Works voted Tuesday to approve a contract with Force Construction for the project. Force is also the contractor on the fieldhouse at NexusPark.

The contract amount is $6.7 million, said Columbus Parks and Recreation associate director of business services Pam Harrell. The city is also setting aside an additional $300,000 owner contingency allowance; however, this will only be used if the city requests a change or there are unforeseen needs that arise during construction.

“This phase of the project consists of all the work for the exterior campus at NexusPark,” she said. “This will include lighting in the parking lots, asphalt and sidewalk in the parking lot, and a section of People Trail as a connector, along with an outdoor park outside of the park headquarter space.”

According to Harrell, the city sought contractors for the work through a request for proposals rather than a competitive bidding process. Force, Dave O’Mara Contractors and Turner Construction each submitted proposals, which included base proposals and alternates for electric vehicle charging systems and an irrigation system.

Their original proposals were as follows:

Dave O’Mara

Base bid: $10,399,000

EV charging: $210,040

Irrigation: $531,335

Total: $11,140,375


Base bid: $8,561,800

EV charging: $107,200

Irrigation: $415,600

Total: $9,084,600


Base bid: $9,622,000

EV charging: $136,000

Irrigation: $467,000

Total: $10,225,000

After looking over the submissions, the city asked the companies if they could provide value engineering concepts that might be able to reduce the price to $6.5 million or less, Harrell said.

Force provided a $6,395,000 proposal, and Turner came back with a $7.17 million bid. Dave O’Mara did not respond to the request.

The board of works voted in late August to award the project to Force. City officials then moved forward with negotiating the contract.

Columbus City Council voted in June to authorize the Columbus Redevelopment Commission to grant up to $6.5 million from the Central Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District to the Midtown TIF. Harrell said this will fund most of the work.

“We’re using $500,000 of thoroughfare dollars for the People Trail component, and we have $350,000 in donations,” she added.

NexusPark is a joint effort between the city of Columbus and Columbus Regional Hospital to transform the former FairOaks Mall into a health, wellness and recreation center. The campus is expected to include parks department and community spaces, CRH facilities, restaurant and retail areas, and a fieldhouse.

Outdoor community park and gathering spaces are planned, and Dunham’s is expected to remain on-site under its current lease.