CHATHAM – Planned improvements at Old Mill Boatyard have been scaled back after bids for the work came in above the available funding for the project.
The most significant element of the work – replacement of the bulkhead at the town-owned Stage Harbor facility – remain in new bid documents issued last week. Other items have been removed and a few included as alternatives which could be added into the project at a later date.
The new bids are due Sept. 1, which Coastal Resources Director Ted Keon said should allow enough time for the project to be completed over the winter, provided the new bids are within the $1.55 million in available funding.
“We're still comfortable that there's enough time to get this going,” he said.
The major improvements to the facility, which hosts the town's harbormaster department offices and the shellfish upwelling system, remain in the revised project, Keon said. Those include replacement of approximately 300 feet of failing wooden bulkhead on the east side of the parking area, along with replacing and enlarging piers and floats, changes officials say will make the facility more functional for both commercial fishermen and recreational boats. Old Mill Boatyard has the only major municipal launching ramp on the Nantucket Sound side of town.
Timber access stairs and a viewing platform along the bulkhead have been deleted from the documents, Keon said. Access to the shore will remain as it is today, via stairs on the north side of the parking lot, and it's possible that the viewing platform and stairs could be added at a later time, he said.
Two elements have been included in the bid as add-on alternatives. Depending on the base bids, the items could be added back into the project, Keon said. They are an extension of the finger float along the boat ramp and a concrete wash-down pad in the parking area. The latter was to be used in conjunction with a mobile wash-down system jointly owned by the town and Harwich, designed to allow the wash down of large commercial fishing boats at town landings. The concrete pad is not necessary for use of the system but would make it easier to control run-off and clean up afterwards, he said.
“These are things that we'd really like to have, but if we're tight for money then we won't,” Keon said.
Bids opened last month came in about $200,000 above the available funding. Last year the state awarded the town a $1 million Seaport Economic Council grant for the project; the agency also contributed $102,750 for engineering, design and permitting of the work. In July Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, who chairs the Seaport Council, toured Old Mill Boatyard and lauded the plan as helping foster both recreational boating and commercial fin and shellfishing, both big contributors to the Cape's economy.
The town has also contributed $550,000 in construction funds through three town meeting votes. The $1.55 million construction estimate also included $85,000 in construction phase engineering costs. Keon noted that the low bid of $1.7 million, from Robert B. Our, Inc. of Harwich, did not include contingencies and other engineering oversight costs.
The new bidding documents still call for starting construction in mid October, Keon said, although that is contingent on negotiations with the successful contractor. If work does begin as planned, he said the new facilities should be ready for next year's boating season.