Council phases in marina project

Progress is slow and steady for the Oak Harbor Marina redevelopment project.

In December, the Oak Harbor City Council voted unanimously to authorize Mayor Jim Slowik to sign an engineering services contract with Reid Middleton, Inc., for $145,322. The agreement is for the second phase of the project.

Broken into two sections, the contract includes “phase A,” design, project management and bidding assistance for a total of $95,272.

“Phase B” consists of construction assistance and mitigation monitoring, at a cost of $50,050, if the option to dredge the entire marina is chosen.

The City Council’s December vote awarded “phase A,” which has a completion deadline of July 31, 2010. If and when a dredging contract is awarded, they’ll vote on “phase B” and determine a deadline at a later date.

“There’s a strong sentiment that the marina should be dredged in its entirety by our marina customers,” said Steve Powers, the city’s Development Services director. “It’ll be a cost prohibitive decision for the council.”

Powers said dredging should take place next summer and continue into the early winter as weather permits. The next “in-water work window” will occur between mid-July 2010 through mid-February 2011.

Councilwoman Beth Munns expressed concern whether the project’s timeline will stay in-line with the city’s permits.

According to Powers, the permits will suffice “if we stay on course,” he said. Oak Harbor currently holds two dredging permits, one from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife that’s valid through Jan. 2013, and another from the Army Corp of Engineers for dredging and disposal that’s good through October 2011.

Councilman Jim Palmer asked for clarification on which areas of the marina will be dredged and whether the city holds enough bonding capacity for such a project.

The project will center on the marina and boat slips, but will not include the “bottleneck” entrance to the marina, Powers said. The City Council will ultimately decide the amount of dredging, he added.

Doug Merriman, finance director, confirmed that the city has enough bonding capacity for the project.

The marina’s cash reserve contains enough money to cover the cost of the design contract, approved by council members in December. Funds for marina dredging, however, are “not yet secured,” Powers said.

There are two important decisions that remain, Powers said.

“The first is the scale, or amount, or dredging to be undertaken. The second is how the dredging will be funded,” he said.

City officials will likely decided on a mixture of revenue bonds and fee increases to cover the cost of the dredging phase, Powers said. The council will review payment options around the middle of 2010, after they determine amount of dredging needed and accept a bid for the project.

In 2006 the City Council approved a $19.2 million marina redevelopment plan; however, city staff members have decided to move forward with the plan in phases because of budget limitations, Powers said.

Last August the city council members awarded the phase one construction contract for the redevelopment of the city’s marina, which included replacement of the main gangway and upgrades to existing electrical services. The main gangway floats will be replaced later this month, said Harbormaster Mack Funk. Phase one will wrap up in spring 2010.

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