Fernandina Beach Marina repairs soon to be underway

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst

July 18,2018 12:45 p.m.

Fernandina Beach City Commission (l-r): Vice Mayor Len Kreger, Commissioner Roy Smith, City Attorney Tammi Bach, Mayor John Miller, City Manager Dale Martin, Commissioners Phil Chapman and Chip Ross

With a remarkable posture of unanimity, the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) took action at their July 17, 2018 Regular Meeting to begin the work of putting the south basin of the Fernandina Beach Harbor Marina back into working order following two years of frustration and delay in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

The FBCC approved two actions with unanimous votes to move forward more or less simultaneously to remove existing decks and pilings from the south basin in order to dredge the basin to a depth of 8 feet and to design and replace the south attenuator and the inner docks in a new alignment.  While the city currently holds a permit for dredging and replacing the inner docks, it is still awaiting a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to replace the southern attenuator.  The city has been assured that the second permit process is being fast tracked.

At the same time, the city is moving ahead to assess the status of the existing breakwall in the marina south of Brett’s Waterway Café.  Depending on the outcome of that assessment, additional work may be required landside of the marina to shore up that wall.

Because there are many moving parts to “fixing the marina,” the city may also hire a temporary employee to serve as project manager for the many activities and companies involved in the multiple projects.

At this time best guess estimates are that work to dismantle the existing south basin, to include removal of docks and piers, will begin in the September-October timeframe.  Current south basin slip holders will be required to relocate their vessels until the new docks are installed.  The target completion date for the south basin projects is spring 2019.

Resolution 2018-101:  Award of Bid # 18-12 to Fender Marine Construction

Agreeing with the recommendation of the city’s consultant, the FBCC voted to give the green light to Fender Marine Construction to proceed with design and construction of the southern attenuator on the assumption that by the time construction is ready to begin, the required Army Corps of Engineers 408 Process permit will be in hand.

The FEMA estimate for replacement and repairs is approximately $6.5 million. The Fender Marine Construction bid is $6,152,566. Although the City will secure a line of credit/loan for up to $6.6 million to fund the project, FEMA and the State of Florida will reimburse the City 75% ($4,614,424) and 12.5% ($769,070), respectively (totaling $5,383,494), leaving the final City cost at $769,070.

Commissioners availed themselves of opportunities to meet with Fender representatives to ask questions and learn more about the company and its projects.  They all seemed to be highly impressed with Fender’s track record and their choice of materials.  Fender uses Marinetek concrete pontoons, which have proven to have longer life than the type of concrete docks currently in use in the city marina.  This video explains the structural advantages of Marinetek concrete pontoons, and the benefits the pontoon performance brings to marina operators and their clients.

Resolution 2018-99: Proposal Acceptance – Applied Technology & Management, Inc. to review, design, and bid the realignment and dredging projects

In order to respond to concerns of slip holders regarding the critical need to dredge the south basin of the marina and to utilize effectively the time between now and the construction of the south attenuator, the FBCC directed ATM, its marina consultant, to review, design, and bid the realignment and dredging projects. Due to the short window of opportunity, this proposal is being considered a “Sole Source/Emergency Purchase” under the provisions of the City’s recently amended Purchasing Policy (Sec. E.6).

Given the anticipated delays in procuring equipment and supplies needed for the southern attenuator repairs, it may be possible to complete the southern basin projects (dock realignment and dredging) before the attenuator repairs commence rather than waiting until after the repairs are completed.

The ATM proposal is for $64,200, of which approximately $13,000 is related to the dredging project. The remaining $51,000 is related to the realignment project.

The Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) previously awarded the City $24,739 to support Southern Basin realignment activities, of which approximately $16,500 remains available. The remaining costs (approximately $35,000) could be funded through existing loan proceeds (approximately $129,400 project fund balance) and, if necessary, proceeds from the anticipated line of credit/loan (the funds of which subsequently can be utilized to support the actual project costs).

FIND has previously awarded $151,650 for dredging. An additional application for $175,000 is pending. The funds previously granted can be utilized to support the ATM proposal.

Permits for this work are currently in hand.  The city anticipates that this bid will be published by the end of July.

Seawall concerns in the marina’s southern basin

Commissioners raised questions as to the sequencing and timing of the various projects affecting the city marina.  In light of anticipated results on an engineering assessment of the southern seawall, some commissioners questioned whether it might make more sense to wait for the results of that study before commencing work in the southern basin. During discussion, it was determined that any work required to repair/replace the seawall would be done from the land side and would not impact upon work being done in the basin. Should extensive repairs be required, the boardwalk might need to be taken up and Parking Lot B used for construction materials and staging.

OHPA supports city’s request for second 408 Process for North Basin

Commissioner Chip Ross reported that at the last meeting of the Ocean Highway and Port Authority (OHPA) that body voted to approve the city’s request for permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to repair the marina’s fuel dock and the north attenuator, also damaged by Hurricane Matthew.  OHPA approval is critical, since it is the local agency with authority over the federal navigation channel.  For more information on the north 408 process, see https://fernandinaobserver.com/uncategorized/frustrations-abound-in-seeking-marina-repairs/.

The Army Corps of Engineers had advised the city to hold off on submitting this request until the first 408 Process permit for the southern attenuator had been completed.