Recreation Facilities:

Weaknesses in the Corps' Procedures Highlighted by Arcadia Lake Dispute

RCED-90-185: Published: Sep 28, 1990. Publicly Released: Oct 26, 1990.

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James Duffus, III
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army Corps of Engineers' design and construction of recreation facilities at the Arcadia Lake Project in Edmond, Oklahoma, focusing on the: (1) events that led to litigation between the Corps and its cost-share partner, the city of Edmond; and (2) Corps' new procedures for cost-share projects.

GAO found that: (1) Edmond refused to pay the Corps its 50-percent share for facility construction when project costs increased to 2.5 times the estimated cost; (2) the Department of Justice sued Edmond to force the city to pay its share of costs; (3) the underlying issues in the dispute were Edmond's approval of changes in project design and cost increases, the Corps' involvement of Edmond in project design and development, and the Corps' overestimation of visitors to the project; (4) the Corps' new procedures did not address the cost-share partner's approval of design and cost changes or involvement in project design and development, but did improve the visitation estimate process; and (5) Edmond's design and construction concerns about the recreation facilities were still unresolved.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Corps revised its guidance in a new model project cooperation agreement. The agreement, issued in August 1992 to Corps' districts, requires coordination, information sharing, and participation by the local sponsors throughout the project management. However, because GAO foreseeable audit plans do not include any reviews of individual Corps cost-sharing projects, GAO will not be able to determine if the agreement will result in the changes GAO envisioned. Therefore, GAO is closing the recommendation.

    Recommendation: To reduce the likelihood of future disputes about a cost-share partner's approval of changes in project design and cost, the Secretary of the Army should require the Chief, Corps of Engineers, to revise the Corps' procedures so that the Corps must obtain written notification from the cost-share partner's governing body that identifies those people having authority to legally obligate the partner.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Corps' Sponsor's Information Kit pamphlet, which is to provide the project sponsors with information to better understand the project development process, was mailed to all major subordinate and district commands in November 1990. However, a subsequent GAO review showed that most sponsors did not receive the kit.

    Recommendation: To ensure that cost-share partners have the information they need to participate in project design and development, the Secretary of the Army should require the Chief, Corps of Engineers, to develop guidance for prospective cost-share partners that provides a clear understanding of the rights, roles, and responsibilities of both the partners and the Corps in designing and developing cost-share projects. The guidance should include, but not be limited to, information about the design options available and the partners' involvement in selecting from those options, as well as the Corps' approval process and the partners' role in the process.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army


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