City Marina update

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
April 20, 2018


No need (today) for a Plan B

At the end of their April 17, 2018 Regular Meeting, Fernandina Beach City Commissioners (FBCC) briefly discussed the need for a Plan B, should the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) not approve the permit for the replacement of the attenuator (Dock 1) in the south basin of the City Marina.  This important dock has not been operational since Hurricane Matthew’s visit in 2016.   Vice Mayor Kreger considered failure to approve this permit under the ACE 408 process “highly unlikely.”  He suggested that a Plan B would necessitate moving in the attenuator to meet the required distance from the navigation channel.

Commissioner Chip Ross said that at this time he did not believe that the city should be spending money on an engineer to develop a Plan B.  He suggested that approval chances for the southern attenuator replacement were very good.  If a problem might arise, he believed it would probably be in connection with the location of the fuel docks.  But Ross expressed hope that with the backing of the Port of Fernandina, that would also be approved.

Because a decision on the ACE 408 process is expected in 4-8 weeks, it was the consensus of the city to put off discussion of a Plan B at this time.  Vice Mayor Kreger said, “I feel confident that we are going to get a permit from the Corps of Engineers.”

Design Build RFQ

City Manager Dale Martin updated the Fernandina Beach City Commissioners on the status of various marina actions and timetables during the April 17, 2018 FBCC meeting.  He said that while the city is working with the Army Corps of Engineers to resolve the permitting issue for replacement of Dock 1, the city is moving forward on a parallel path with an RFQ seeking qualifications of Design-Build Teams to perform the work.  The qualifications are due back to the city on May 11, 2018.

Once the city and Rob Semmes, the city’s ATM consultant, have had an opportunity to review those submissions, the qualified respondents will be given an opportunity to bid on the work.  That notice will go out on May 25, and bids will be due back to the city on June 22. Semmes will provide his recommendations on June 29, meaning that the FBCC will be able to consider awarding a bid at their July 17 Regular Meeting.

Martin said that this timetable is being driven in part by the FBCC’s meeting schedule and the need to prepare the proper documents for approval.

Seawall study

Martin added that he has reached out to 6 engineering firms on the city’s preapproved list to obtain an assessment of the marina breakwall.  If it can be determined that the work can be done for less than $20,000, Martin just needs to get quotes from the firms.  If the price will be more than that, the job will need to be bid. He reported that he has heard back from one firm that believes it can be done for less than $20,000, but he would like to have that confirmed from other firms on the city’s list.

Safe to visit Brett’s

With respect to the state of the pilings underpinning Brett’s Waterway Café, Martin reported that he has only received a preliminary report from the investigating engineers, not the full report.  But that preliminary report indicates that while some repairs are likely needed, they are not needed immediately, but rather several years in the future.  The structure is currently safe.

Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.