BB dingy dock opens, pier construction on hold

Good and not so good news came out of the Nov. 1 Bradenton Beach city pier meeting at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.

Public works director Tom Woodard announced that work was finished on the dingy dock across from the BridgeTender Inn and Dockside Bar. That dock was destroyed during June’s Tropical Storm Debby.

Federal Emergency Management Agency funds paid for the dingy dock work and Woodard said the city awaits one final signature from FEMA to begin work on the floating dock adjacent to the Historic Bridge Street Pier.

The floating dock was closed weeks before Debby due to a design flaw in the hinges that over time caused the sections to separate. Debby’s fury ensured the dock remained closed.

Duncan Seawall completed the dingy dock work and is also assigned to repair the floating dock.

“We are waiting on one signature to approve the money for the floating dock from FEMA,” said Woodard. “Duncan is good to go as soon as we get the go ahead.”

Building official Steve Gilbert said FEMA is waiting on confirmation of whether the city needs any permits from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

“One of the FEMA requirements is to have confirmation whether we needed a permit from DEP, which we do not,” said Gilbert. “That letter was sent off (Oct. 31).”

The completion of the dingy dock and the anticipated repair work to the floating dock to begin soon was the good news.

Further delays to begin the reconstruction project to the Historic Bridge Street Pier were met with less enthusiasm.

ZNS Engineering was the only engineering company to respond to last month’s request for proposal following stalled negotiations with Sago & Sago Engineering.

Insurance concerns stalled the original negotiations and the city moved forward to search for a new engineer to head the project. Gilbert said the bid from ZNS for all services except the actual construction is $33,000.

“That’s double what Sago gave us, but ZNS does have all the things that will make us happy, and some of the things in the proposal have already been done or doesn’t need to be done,” said Gilbert.

He said the $33,000 is a standard contract proposal from ZNS, but the actual price would be somewhat lower when taking into consideration that some of the work listed will not have to be done for a project that is essentially pulling pilings out and putting new pilings into existing holes.

“When they prepare a proposal, it’s standard to cover all eventualities for a brand new project, which this one is not,” said Gilbert. “I already know from our own records that some of those tasks listed in the proposal are not necessary.”

Commissioner Jan Vosburgh asked if Sago & Sago had submitted a similar scope of work, and Gilbert said the proposals are very different from one another.

“Sago’s was much less detailed,” he said.

Gilbert recommended commissioners consider capping the price at $30,000 rather than amending the contract, with the understanding that the final price would likely be substantially less.

“I’d like to see something more definitive before it comes to commission,” said Gatehouse. “My experience is that if there is $30,000 available, they will spend what they can.”

Mayor John Shaughnessy has been pushing for the project to get underway before tourist season begins and made his push one more time.

“We can cut where we can cut,” he said. “I hate to say this, but we are sort of over a barrel here because we only had one bidder. We need to get this pier done, period.”

“We can meet with them and then come back to you with a figure we are all comfortable with,” said Gilbert.

Commissioner Gay Breuler asked if the negotiations would hinder the estimated timetable to have the project done before tourist season.

Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale said it would depend on the negotiations, but expressed confidence that it could be done on schedule.

Speciale supervises pier-related projects.

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