BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Dredging of the city marina is set to begin in September and most of the park east of 6th Street will be closed for the next year.
According to Bryan Bross, an environmental engineer out of Klingner & Associates’ Burlington office who’s been part of the steering committee creating the new $6 million-plus marina, said the marina will be dredged about three feet down creating about 44,000 square yards of silt that has to go somewhere.
That silt will be spread out on the east side of Riverview Park to drain and dry out and then will be used to elevate the park to reduce the frequency of flooding.
Some of the silt and other materials will be used to rebuild the new jetty wall. That wall is planned to be further out in the river and be high enough to exceed the 500-year flood level and should help reduce the amount of silting occurring inside the marina, where more than 100 new docks are planned. Half of those are permanent covered docks.
The new jetty wall will be protected by rip rap, or hauled in rock, to help prevent erosion.
Bross said the first phase that should begin in the fall is basically reconfiguring the marina.
“This first phase is kinda like facial surgery dealing with the bones, and then, really, another phase would be to do all the stuff that will make it look pretty on the outside,” he said.
He said using the dredged materials in this fashion is actually cheaper for the project and more beneficial for the park as a whole.
“We worked a lot of different angles to try and deal with this. It’s a lot of materials and to haul it away would be more expensive. You can’t just dump it in the river – that’s not allowed. So you might as well take advantage of it and raise your riverfront in that area,” Bross said.
“If you look to the west end towards the memorial there’s some soil that’s been piled up there already. We’re going to be closer to that elevation across the whole thing.”
The soil currently being stored in Riverview Park is from the Avenue H project.
Bross said FEMA projects involve the dredging and the rip-rap on the new levy. Those are reimbursable expenses on the project because both deal with future flood mitigation.
The next phase would include seeding the ground, clearing the frontage road, and resetting shelters, playground equipment and determining where the volleyball courts or other recreational spaces could be located.
“I think the community is really excited about the project and we’re looking forward to seeing progress this fall.” said Councilwoman Rebecca Bowker.
The council approved a resolution for the construction, setting a public hearing, and bid letting on the project unanimously.
Bids are expected back by Aug. 12 and then those would be presented to the council at its Aug. 17 meeting. The timeline on the work has been set for 120 days.
“One thing I’ve said out loud and I’m gonna say it out loud again. I don’t want to delude anybody. The east side of this park will look like a war zone for a year. This dredge thing will be a mess, but the sweet thing is when this thing gets put back – it’s a blank piece of paper. You decided where playgrounds go, where recreation areas go and where shelter houses go,” said Fort Madison Mayor Matt Mohrfeld.
“It will be pieced back together with the master plan.”
Mohrfeld, who has spearheaded the effort to get the marina rebuilt and has unabashedly said the city won’t apologize for having a five-star marina, has also secured a commitment from the city to help trigger other financial partners. The city has committed $1.5 million to the project.
The council voted unanimously to create a new account for the marina funds and transfer the $1.5 million into the account as the city’s contribution.
The council also approved, 6-0, a bid for the rip rap in the amount of $690,000 from Cessford Construction. It was the lone bid for the material. Councilman Kevin Rink abstained citing a family relation in the ownership of the quarry producing the rock. The city approved receiving the bid Tuesday so a sufficient amount would be available by Sept. 1.
The project, which ultimately could carry a price tag as high as $11 million, will bring new docks, a new pier and a new hospitality center, but could also include new roadways around the marina that are out of the flood plain, new parking lots, docks in front of the marina for boaters on day trips, and other amenities.