Wenatchee puts floating docks on hold
WENATCHEE — Boaters looking to tie up at a dock and grab lunch in downtown Wenatchee are going to have to wait a year.
Gary Owen, a Wenatchee city engineer, recommended Thursday evening that the City Council reject the two bids received to construct a floating dock system on the Columbia River north of the Wenatchee Riverfront Park boat launch. The project also included an additional 12 parking spaces for boat trailers at the park.
He said the bids were much higher than originally estimated and he would like to revise the plans to reduce costs and reopen the bidding process.
Owen told the commission he hopes construction would begin in September 2009.
Allison Williams, executive services director, said before the council meeting that plans for the riverfront project, called the Wenatchee Day Use Moorage and Parking Lot Expansion, have been in the works since 2004. She said engineering estimates in 2005 came in a little more than $818,000.
However, Whitebird, Inc. submitted a bid for $1,019,537.08, and Strider Construction submitted a bid for $1,227,069.
Williams had secured a state grant from the Recreation and Conservation Office, as well as funds from Chelan County PUD and the Port of Chelan County totaling $673,000.
She said she planned to make up the difference on the original estimate from local private sources.
"But because the bids are so much higher than our original estimate, the RCO is asking us to revise the plans to get the numbers back down to the original amount," she said.
Williams said that when the city first presented its vision for the riverfront to the public, residents who responded indicated that having a place to dock and tie up their boats was very important to them.
Owen told the council the parking lot expansion would be eliminated from the project to bring down the costs.
Councilman Don Gurnard asked why there was such a big difference between the original estimate and the two bids.
Owen said the three floating docks, measuring 40 feet by 10 feet, were originally estimated to cost $113,500. But Whitebird bid the floats at about $230,000 and Strider bid them at $200,000.
He also said costs of the steel products were a big contributor to the higher costs.
Mayor Dennis Johnson asked Owen why only two companies submitted bids when 25 project packets were sent out.
Owen said he thought a lot of it had to do with the 30-day window to construct the project.
The city secured two environmental permits that will only allow construction in the Columbia River between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15.
Owen said in the revised plan, he probably would separate construction that happens on shore with the construction that happens on the river.
Councilman Jim Bailey wanted to make sure the environmental permits would not expire before the project could be constructed in 2009.
Owen said the permits are good for two years.
The council unanimously accepted Owen's request to reject the bids, revise the project and get an extension from RCO.
Johnson said, "It's a shame it's not going to work this year."