The city of Lodi could save as much as $500,000 after coming up with a unique solution to a dirty problem.
One city project needs dirt to fill in a work site, while another project needs dirt removed.
AM Stephens, the contractor for the new Lodi water treatment plant, will add dirt to raise the work site 2 1/2 feet. This will put the plant a foot above the 100-foot flood plane elevation.
The project near Lodi Lake requires 20,000 cubic feet of dirt, which can range in price from $2 to $5 per cubic foot, Public Works Director Wally Sandelin said.
At the same time, the city also planned to pay a contractor between $250,000 and $500,000 to remove 7,000 cubic feet from the Grape Bowl's hill on the west side of the stadium for a new entrance.
So city staff worked out a deal allowing AM Stephens to excavate the Grape Bowl dirt for free and then transport it to Lodi Lake. The city will then only have to pay $20,000 to remove trees, asphalt and fencing from the stadium.
The partnership could accelerate the next phase of Grape Bowl upgrades, Parks and Recreation interim director Jim Rodems said.
"We are still discussing what that timeline is going to look like. This component we didn't expect to do until after football season," he said.
The project includes installing restrooms, a concession stand and a ticket booth that are all compliant with the Americans with Disabiliies Act.
The phase also includes installing ramps to help people get from the upper levels of the stadium to the lower levels on the south side of the stadium.
The city priced the upgrades at $1.4 million, but that cost included money to excavate the west side of the stadium.
Lodi has relied on a variety of funding sources to pay for Grape Bowl construction, and Public Works director Wally Sandelin said this is an encouraging sign.
"It is a nice position to be in. Two years ago we didn't have a plan. We didn't have a schedule. We didn't have any funding," Sandelin said.
AM Stephens will start removing the dirt as early as Monday and finish by May 15, in time for the city to secure the site for summer uses, including graduation, Sandelin said.
The Save the Grape Bowl Campaign has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the aging stadium. Jack Fiori, who spearheads the fundraising committee, said the campaign is "extremely pleased" with the progress and applauds the company for working with the city.
"They are well known in the community and do a lot of great work for the city. Presently, they are working with the city on a water plant, so it's natural for them to work together in a combined effort and save the city some money," Fiori said.