Marco Island estimates Fire Station 50 and Veterans' Park projects will cost $22.9M

$12.5 million to replace Fire Station 50 and $10.4 million to renovate Veterans' Community Park

Rendering of Fire Station 50 and emergency center on Marco Island.

Marco Island City Council on Monday unanimously approved documents that estimate it will cost the city approximately $22.9 million to replace Fire Station 50 and renovate Veterans' Community Park. 

The city would spend $12.5 million to replace the fire station with a new station and an emergency center, and $10.4 million to renovate the park.

The new fire station will be approximately 22,366 square feet with administrative offices, meeting rooms, sleeping quarters and bays for the equipment, according to a city staff report.

Miguel Carballo, fleet and facilities manager with the city, said the fire station and emergency center will include a fueling station, the IT department, a community training center and a training tower. The project will also include renovating pavement and landscaping across the City Hall campus.

The firm in charge of designing the building is BSSW Architects and the project's construction manager at risk is Manhattan Construction, tasked with preparing cost estimates.

Carballo said the project would be funded by an $8 million (loan) note, close to $2.5 million in Collier County's one percent sales tax funds and a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant of nearly $1.3 million. He said the city has yet to identify the source of funds for nearly $750,000.

Miguel Carballo, facilities manager with the city of Marco Island, speaks during a City Council meeting on April 19, 2021.

From February:Marco Island approves resolutions to move forward the construction of Fire Station 50

From March:Marco Island City Council postpones approval of plan for $8.8M project at Veterans' Park

City Manager Mike McNees, on the other hand, did not go into specifics about the funding sources for both projects.

"Final details regarding the funding mix, including whatever debt will be required and the payback sources for these two projects will be approved by the City Council when the construction projects are authorized. Generally speaking they will both be paid for by a combination of local option infrastructure sales tax and other city general revenues," McNees wrote Tuesday in an email.

Carballo said the project's estimate increased from $11.7 million in January to $12.5 million because of inflation, market conditions and limited material supplies. He said another important factor is limited subcontractor interest or limited bids.

"The biggest one that has been affecting this project is electrical. (It) came in $500,000 overbudget and they only have one bid. Two other bidders have rejected this bid because they are not willing to come to this area," Carballo said.

Carballo said Manhattan Construction is working to find additional bidders to increase competition and potentially lower costs. He also said the company warned the city in November that it would need to take into account things such as inflation when estimating construction costs.

Carballo said City Council could approve the "inflation-inclusive budget" of $12.5 million or a lower budget of $11.7 million at the expense of eliminating the training tower and the fueling station.

Marco Island Fire Chief Christopher Byrne said the training tower can be used not only by firefighters but also by police.

"The police department would utilize it as they have utilized our former tower," Byrne said.

"The project is anticipated to start in about two months and will last for a 16 month period," Carballo wrote in an email Tuesday.

Veterans' Community Park

The renovation of Veterans' Community Park includes building a 32-foot star-shaped bandshell, restrooms, parking space, play areas and landscaping across nearly 11 acres.

The firm in charge of designing the project is Kimley-Horn and the project's construction manager at risk, like Fire Station 50, is Manhattan Construction.

James Pankonin, project manager with Kimley-Horn, said the project will also include the expansion of a turnaround at West Elkcam Circle and East Joy Circle so drivers are less likely to continue driving on the latter, which is a dead end. 

The angled parking along West Elkcam Circle was switched to the south side of the road, Pankonin said.

Addressing concerns about the park's stormwater management system, Mallory Clancy, civil engineer at Kimley-Horn, said it was designed to provide more than double the amount of treatment required by the South Florida Water Management District.

John Begani, director of preconstruction with Manhattan Construction, said the company is encountering a construction supply shortage, such as PVC pipes, and raising costs, in part due to the deep freeze that affected thousands of structures in Texas and surrounding states in February.

"Just try to pick up a sheet of plywood or any type of lumber, (and) you will see right away how much that price has spiked in a short amount of time," Begani said.

Begani said City Council could approve a budget of $10.4 million or a lower budget of $8.8 at the expense of redesigning the bandshell and eliminating a boardwalk. 

Carlos Portu, chairman of the city's parks and recreation committee, said the city should not change the design of the park to cut costs during the final stages of the design process. 

Rendering of the renovation of Veterans' Community Park on Marco Island.

In case you missed it:Marco Island grapples with invasive green iguanas as they impact structures, wildlife

"If there is an opportunity to reduce the (costs) without impacting what we are doing, then by all means. I don't have any desire to waste our tax dollars," Portu said.

Marco Island resident Edgar "Ed" Issler said changing tree sizes to lower costs will be detrimental to residents like him who live across the canal from where the bandshell will be located. He said the city should add more  landscaping behind the bandshell, not less, to provide a sound barrier for the residents of South Joy Circle and nearby streets.

Former Councilor Howard Reed said the city should focus on spending the money in things that cannot be fixed later.

"You can leave out some landscaping because you can put it in later, but if you take that design for the bandshell and gut it, you can't fix that," Reed said.

"This is going to be the jewel of the island for the next 50 years," Reed said.

Pinter wrote that the start date of the construction at Veterans' Community Park is unknown at the moment and that construction would last between 11 and 13 months.

In a subsequent meeting, City Council would consider the approval of the projects' guaranteed maximum price or the final maximum amount that the city will have to pay for the project, said Carballo and Pinter.

City Council also approved unanimously the site development plan for the renovation of Veterans' Community Park, which includes guidelines that must be followed when building key elements of the park such as the bandshell, restrooms, parking and others.

Marco to hire project manager or engineer

City Council voted 6-1 to authorize the city to hire a full-time project manager or engineer to oversee the construction of Fire Station 50 and the renovations of Veterans' Community Park and City Hall's annex (former Medical Arts Center building).

Councilor Erik Brechnitz was the only councilor to vote against it. He said staff had informed City Council in the past that Carballo and Pinter could manage these projects.

"Apparently, now you don't feel as comfortable as you did," Brechnitz told McNees.

McNees said the city would be "well served" by having a full-time city employee to manage these projects.

"Having a dedicated project manager on staff will ensure the city’s interests are represented with no conflicts of interest," McNees wrote in a staff report.

The person hired for the proposed position could earn from $61,000 to $110,000 annually, in addition to other benefits, according to the report.

The Medical Arts Center is pictured, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, on 1310 San Marco Rd., Marco Island.

From December:Marco Island buys Medical Arts Center for $2.23M to house building department

From 2020:Marco Island to hire fleet manager as departments request new vehicles for FY 2021

The city would convert a full-time maintenance vacancy into the project manager position and convert a part-time maintenance vacancy into a full-time position, adding the equivalent of half of a full-time position to the city's staff, according to McNees' report.

This move would result in the city having to budget an additional $91,100 for the new positions for fiscal year 2022, in addition to $30,367 to fund these positions during the last four months of fiscal year 2021, according to the report.

"Alternatively, if the city contracts with an engineering firm to temporarily add project management support, the anticipated costs will be $400,000 annually for a full-time position," McNees wrote.

"Either one is better than what we have right now," Marco Island City Council Chairman Jared Grifoni said.

The project manager position would still be needed after the Fire Station 50 and Veterans' Community Park projects are completed, according to the report.

"At that time, this position will continue to manage projects as they arise including roof replacement at City Hall, generator replacements, A/C replacement and other capital asset projects," McNees wrote in the report.

Preliminary cost estimates to renovate the annex building, purchased by the city in December for $2.2 million, are in development and will be a presented in May to City Council, Carballo wrote in an email Monday.

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