City approves contract for first phase of marina project

This aerial view of the proposed $6 million Fort Madison marina concept shows the revamped jetty wall, covered and uncovered docks, parking, and the new hospitality center with the current park, shelter house and volleyball pits in Fort Madison. Courtesy image


FORT MADISON – Plans to create a multi-million dollar marina in Fort Madison took a step forward Tuesday night as the Fort Madison City Council approved a $1.35 million contract for dredging work.

At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the council, council members voted 6-0 to approve a bid from Delong Construction of Washington, IA for nine base bids of 11 that were part of the original request for proposals.

Public Works Director Mark Bousselot said there are still two more base bids included in the request that will need to be added to the project. The two other bids include jetty wall work that has not been approved for FEMA funding yet. That work includes the jetty relocation and riprap placement along the jetty, totaling about $629,000.

The city received five bids for the work with a high bid of $2,940,723 and the low was $1,978,247 from Delong. All the bids except for one came from Iowa, the other from Missouri.

The Delong bid reflects the entirety of the project including the future awarding of bids on the jetty wall, but the city could only award the $1.35 million in work.

“When we get more information back from FEMA on the jetty and the wall… we’ll move forward awarding sections A1 and A2,” Bousselot said.

He said a meeting with FEMA has been set a meeting, but officials have indicated the improved jetty project request would be denied, however they would get an opportunity to appeal the decision. If that’s the case the city could be on the hook for the additional $629,000. They would also pay 15% of the rest of the project.

FEMA would pick up 75% of everything approved for federal funding, and the state would chip in 10% on those projects as well. The city would be responsible for the remaining 15% or roughly $200,000.

“They told us that our chances were very low and it would take a long time. So to move forward with this it may be something we do not look at, but we are proposing a meeting on Aug. 24 as a meeting to hash everything out, but I don’t know where we’re going to go with it.”

Councilman Tom Schulz said he was “terribly nervous” about the million dollar discrepancy between the high and low bid.

Mayor Matt Mohrfeld said there is a big spread between the bids, but he said Delong really wanted the project.

“They’re excited and they’re going to run a project manager out of Burlington,” Mohrfeld said.

Engineering estimates on the project came in at $2,827,000. Schulz asked if the low bid was going to followed by a bunch of change orders. Bousselot said he is aware of at least one change order that will be coming, but it should be covered at 85% by FEMA and state funds.

The city has allocated $1.5 million to the project to leverage other private and public donations to the total cost of the marina renovation. Initial costs to get the new marina open have been reported at about $6 million. But the entire project including all road and dock wall improvements could push the ultimate price tag to $11 million.

Tom Schulz said the city has been handling the working relationship with the state and FEMA very efficiently and those dealings could end up with additional benefits to the city.

“I’ve spoke with Mark about this and I think they’re working this in an amazingly efficient way and it may end up benefiting us in the long run,” Schulz said.

Mohrfeld said Bousselot is invested in the project and said engineers are planning on change orders because it is a federal project with FEMA money.

Brian Bross, an environmental engineer with Klingner and Associates, who’s the city’s engineer on the project said the city should plan on at least 5 to 10% in additional contingency fees with the project.

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