By Kelli Jo Hull
For Hometown News
The Port Orange City Council approved a $96,100 contract for design and engineering services for Riverwalk Park and the Boardwalk with Dredging and Marine Consultants at the Jan. 7 City Council meeting.
Dredging and Marine Consultants will be responsible for data review, planning, public workshops and conceptual master plan development at a cost not to exceed $37,500, and engineering, permitting and bid document preparation for a kayak/canoe launch and boardwalk at a cost not to exceed $58,600.
The Riverwalk project area along Halifax Drive, north Dunlawton Avenue, includes public and private parcels with phased development and construction set to begin in 2015.
City Manager Gregory Kisela estimated construction cost for the park's green space could be $2 million to $2.5 million, but the city "won't know that until after the Feb. 1 charrette," a public workshop scheduled to review Dredging and Marine Consultants' initial "schematic concept plan." Also, Mr. Kisela estimated the cost for the kayak/canoe launch and boardwalk to be "half a million dollars, maybe a little more."
The Florida Inland Navigation District will provide $40,000 for the project in an agreement approved by the council.
Mr. Kisela said once Dredging and Marine Consultants finished the engineering, the city would pursue grant opportunities that "require that you have design and permitting complete" prior to applying for them.
Councilman Bob Ford raised objections to spending $37,500 on park design without "any real evidence that these things are financially" viable, particularly since the city had already spent "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in the past on unused designs for the project.
Mr. Ford also stated without agreement with the private developers involved in the project, moving forward with designs for a park "that we have no control over" was "insane." Mr. Ford added, "You don't do design until you know the parameters around you and we don't know the parameters."
Vice Mayor Donald Burnette said he "agreed conceptually," but also said "we need an engineer to tell us the cost."
Mr. Kisela said even without finalizing plans with developers, "you can still develop Riverwalk" with the amount of city owned property available. "This is a reasonable, fairly cost effective plan," he said.