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Date of Issue: August 06, 2008

Two firms seek to land city contract

Bradenton Beach is working on a plan to establish a formal anchorage and mooring area south of the Historic Bridge Street Pier. Islander Photo: Lisa Neff

Two firms are in the running for a contract to develop Bradenton Beach’s  master recreational boating plan.

The city commission is expected to select a firm - either IBI Group or Scheda Ecological Associates - during a meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 7 at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.

City officials reviewed both companies submitted plans during a meeting July 29 with representatives from the firms.

In 2006, state lawmakers approved a request from the city to expand its municipal boundaries to include 500 feet from shore.

The city sought the expanded boundaries as part of a plan to establish an official anchorage and mooring field generally south of the Historic Bridge Street Pier in Sarasota Bay.

The city, which has researched the issue for some years, secured a grant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to write a master recreational boating plan.

The FWC grant is for a maximum of $39,200, with the city also obligated to invest some money.

IBI and Scheda submitted bids to work with the city on the plan, which in addition to engineering research related to establishing a mooring field would result in the identification of areas for non-motorized boating launches.

Specifically, the city wants a consultant to help:

  • Organize the creation of a master plan with a series of public meetings and focus group interviews.
  • Analyze existing city data and research such as mapping, depths and bathymetry studies and conduct any new engineering research to create a base map for a managed anchorage and mooring field.
  • Prepare plans and permits for markers and buoys mandated by the state.
  • Design signage for the mooring area.
  • Create an environmentally sound and ADA-compliant plan for non-motorized launches.
  • Create a design for non-motorized launches.
  • Prepare an overall, final master boating plan for the city to adopt and the state to review.

Sheda proposed to complete the plan for $44,000 and IBI for $39,200.

During the hour-long meeting last week, IBI and Scheda representatives shared time before city project and program manager Lisa Marie Phillips, Mayor Michael Pierce, Vice Mayor John Chappie and Commissioner Bob Connors.

“This is a good project,” Chappie said. “It’s an important one.… The regulation will protect our environment and provide a recreational need for the whole area.”

IBI representatives fielded the first batch of questions. The firm had previously submitted a bid for the project, but city officials encountered problems in negotiating a contract.

Russell Moore of IBI said there were misunderstandings. “I assure you,” he said, “that we would be able to work out a contract.”

Phillips sought clarification on some omissions in the IBI proposal, confirming that IBI would include a job description for a harbormaster and would advertise public meetings.

Phillips also asked whether Moore thought some existing data collected by the city would need to be redone.

Moore said probably not, since a major storm has not hit the area in recent years.

Phillips asked whether the plan could be finalized by an FWC-imposed deadline of June 15, 2009, to which Moore replied, “Yes.”

Dianne Rosenweig and Thomas Reis, representing Scheda, said they think Herb Dolan Park on the bay side would be an excellent site for a non-motorized launch and that the firm already has a possible design for the launch.

“It’s made of recycled plastic,” Reis said.

Rosenweig said Scheda is working with St. Augustine and St. Petersburg on their master boating plans and that the firm’s experience in those cities would be a plus for Bradenton Beach.

Representatives with both firms said the city’s project - with mooring planned for about 40 boats - is relatively small.

But, they added, small projects, when they involve possible environmental mitigation, can be complicated.