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Date of Issue: May 10, 2007

Bradenton Beach pier costs again rise

The latest figures are in on changes to the Historic Bradenton Beach City Pier, and costs are now pegged at $1,873,536.

The pier work entails building a restaurant on the pier at the east end of Bridge Street at Anna Maria Sound, as well as a dockmaster office, bait and tackle shop, bath house facilities and providing additional dockage.

City commissioners have borrowed about $2.1 million on the project. Contractor Southern Cross Contracting of Sarasota was the low bidder at $1,664,710, and was awarded the contract to do the work last December.

However, changes to the original scope of work, and delays in the project due to permit issues with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, have caused the renovations to be delayed and costs have spiraled to more than 11 percent over the budgeted price.

The restaurant was severely damaged during Hurricane Frances in 2005 and has been closed since, and the pier itself was subsequently closed to the public.

The latest changes, reluctantly approved by city commissioners last week, include $30,507 for a kitchen range hood and associated fans and ductwork, as well as savings of $2,745 for insulation alterations.

"We're hoping to get some money back from the sale of the old hood," said Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale, who has taken over the task of overseeing the project in the wake of the resignation of building official Ed Mc Adam earlier this year.

"We would have had to do this anyway," added Mayor John Chappie of the restaurant expenses.

Tom Edwards, with Southern Cross, said that the project is at about 50 percent completion phase, but added that more changes will probably have to be done to the contract.

Upcoming are lift stations for waste-water flow, a grease trap for the restaurant, back-flow preventers, an emergency generator, electrical revisions, hot water installation systems, conduit for utilities and a galvanized water line for fire safety in lieu of cheaper materials previously planned.

There are also some cosmetic changes to the pier restaurant under discussion, Edwards said.

Some of the previous changes and increased costs were due to unforeseen work that was needed - asphalt and concrete found where only dirt was expected while laying utility lines and pipes, or changes made to the plans to accommodate requirements of other regulatory agencies.

Other changes were made after consulting with the pier concessionaire, David Russell of Rotten Ralph's Waterfront Restaurant in Anna Maria, who will be running the food concession on the pier.

Edwards said that pier facilities should be open to the public by August or September.

Later in the week, commissioners approved an invoice from Tom O'Brien, the architect for the project, but not without some grumbling.

O'Brien's latest invoice, for a little more than $11,280, puts architectural fees up to more than $101,000, city clerk Nora Idso said. "At the rate the money is going," she said, "there won't be any more left."

"There appears to be some things that should have been caught by the architect," Chappie said. "I'm concerned with some of them."

"I believe there are some items of concern," City Commissioner Michael Pierce said in agreement.

Commissioners approved the O'Brien invoice, with Vice Mayor John Shaughnessy opposed. He has been a long-standing opponent of the change orders to the pier, stating previously that the changes should have been within the original scope of work on the project.