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Pier project hits snag

Plans to replace the Arrowhead Pier hit a snag last week when bids for the project came in higher than the city anticipated.

However, the Superior City Council this week authorized city officials to negotiate a reduced price to keep the project from sinking and losing grant funding in the process.

The city budget for the project is $450,000, and grants cover another $166,000 of the cost.

However, bids for the four primary aspects of the project - demolition of the original pier, construction of a new one, moving the boat launch south of the pier and building a fish cleaning station - ranged from the low bid of $915,000 to the high bid of about $1.45 million.

After much debate, the council authorized the public works department to proceed with negotiations with the lowest qualified bidder, RJS Construction.

While some council members said it was only fair to negotiate with all the bidders if the scope of the project changed, others heeded the advice of City Attorney Frog Prell, who said such negotiations would be exceptionally difficult to accomplish in a timely manner. He said the city would be better off rebidding the project than trying to negotiate with three companies.

Parks and Recreation Administrator Mary Morgan said changing the specifications of the project and rebidding could add as much as 45 days before the council would have a bid to consider.

However, the city is operating under time constraints that could jeopardize grant funding and construction permits, which expire at the end of the year. Funding to demolish the old Arrowhead Pier and permits for the project have already been extended a year after a delay in the project. Morgan said her goal is to bring back a negotiated price by the council's Aug. 18 meeting for consideration.

Morgan said changes to the project could include things like using different materials to construct the pier, adding fewer lights or plumbing for the fish-cleaning station now, but adding it later.

"RJS is working on the numbers," Morgan said Wednesday during a Parks and Recreation Commission meeting.