Sinking dock? Bradenton Beach cruises toward default on floating dock contract

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The dock adjacent to the Historic Bridge Street Pier in Bradenton Beach has remained closed since August 2017 while the city awaits installation of a new floating dock. Islander File Photo: ChrisAnn Silver Esformes
Mike Bazzy, Bradenton Beach Marina co-owner, left, and Bradenton Beach public works director Tom Woodard listen Oct. 3 at city hall as the community redevelopment agency discusses how to handle the floating dock problems. Islander Photo: ChrisAnn Silver Esformes

Another day, another delay for the Bradenton Beach floating dock.

The city has been stalled — and facing numerous delays — on its plan to replace a floating dock at the Historic Bridge Street Pier since it was contracted in April 2017.

The contractor’s plan more resembles a sinking ship.

An Oct. 3 email to the city from Technomarine, the dock contractor, CEO Erik Sanderson, states they were “shooting for three weeks” to mobilize due to a backlog in the schedule for the barges needed for installation.

After being shipped from Spain in August, the dock was transported from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale to a laydown yard in Tampa, where it remained as of Oct. 3, according to Sanderson.

Technomarine won the bid in April 2017 to build and install the dock.

According to the most recent of many failed schedules from Technomarine, the final inspection for an installed dock should have been Oct. 4.

At the helm on the project for the city is Police Chief Sam Speciale, pier team leader.

At a community redevelopment agency meeting Oct. 3, Speciale said the city still had not received the permitting information from Technomarine that was requested in July.

CRA member John Horne said by not providing the engineering information in July, per the schedule, Technomarine is in default.

“This is ludicrous,” Horne said.

During the meeting, Mike Bazzy, owner of the Bradenton Beach Marina, located north of the Historic Bridge Street Pier adjacent to the Cortez Bridge, said his service manager was contacted in September by a Technomarine representative inquiring about using the marina as a staging location for the dock.

Bazzy said his manager was told the dock would be delivered by truck, not barge.

He said the marina can handle the project.

He also said Technomarine was supposed to get back to them if the decision is made to use the marina as a staging area, but they have not been contacted.

City attorney Ricinda Perry asked the board if it would consider “bifurcating” the contract and finishing the dock installation with another contractor.

She suggested providing Technomarine with a notice of default based on the contract “to get the materials and the permit here and done,” or agree to release the materials and bifurcate the contract, releasing the city of further financial obligations to the company.

Speciale said the letter must state that the city receives all the hardware to go along with the dock and reminded the board if it follows through with the notice of default, other companies have said they could finish the job for the same cost as Technomarine.

The board remained hesitant to pull the trigger on the notice of default and Perry suggested the board plan to meet again in two weeks.

In the meantime, she was to draft the notice and Speciale would let Technomarine know that the CRA is considering executing a letter of default.

She said this would give Technomarine two weeks to respond to Speciale.

Additionally, CRA chair and Commissioner Ralph Cole said he would determine if the dock is in Tampa.

“It makes sense to go see what’s there,” Cole said.

A motion was made to authorize Speciale to communicate with Technomarine that the CRA is prepared to issue a notice of default, with the option to assist Technomarine in bringing the materials to Bradenton Beach and installing the dock.

Alternately, the CRA is willing to “entertain a friendly parting of ways” and authorize the default notice.

The motion passed unanimously.

The CRA board will hold a special meeting to continue discussing the dock project at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.