Three bids received by the city for the planned Downtown Revitalization project came in much higher than officials anticipated.

City Planner Wayne Marshall briefed councilors on the status of the Downtown Revitalization project during a meeting Tuesday, July 15. The three bids the city received came in at $867,716, $1,162,210 and $1,203,15.

Those amounts were significantly higher than the $650,000 cost estimate that was prepared by the city's engineering firm Sebago Technics.

The purpose of the Downtown Revitalization project is to rebuild Cross Street between Main and Spring Streets, create additional parking and enhance the infrastructure above and below the ground to encourage redevelopment in the area.

The city received a $500,000 grant in order to help pay for the cost of the project.

Because the bid amounts “considerably greater” than what the city anticipated, Marshall recommended councilors accept the bids, which simply acknowledges they were received, and then ask the Downtown Revitalization Committee to reevaluate the project.

Once the committee has time to review the bids and the project, it provide recommendations to the council on how to proceed at a future date.

Marshall also noted that the city was looking at splitting the project into two phases with a portion of the work to be completed in the fall and the remainder to be finished in the spring. However, he pointed out that delaying the start of the project and seeking more bids in the spring may encourage additional companies to express an interest in the project. He noted one of the challenges of bidding a project during the summer is that many of the businesses are busy with other projects.

Councilors voted 3-0 to accept the bids as presented with Councilors Mike Hurley and Eric Sanders absent.