The Oak Ridge City Council approved a $548,350 contract to add an eighth lane to the city’s rowing course in a 6-0 vote during a brief special meeting Tuesday.
The contract will be awarded to First Place Finish Incorporated. The work will include a precast concrete block retaining wall and associated dredging and site work.
The six Council members who were present voted “yes.” Council member Trina Baughn was absent.
More details about the project are included in this special meeting agenda.
Funding for the eighth lane project comes from several sources, Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said in a September 2 memo to City Council. The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development has allocated $250,000 for the project. The city’s Capital Improvements Program, or CIP, has budgeted $585,000 for the project, with the city’s share being $185,000.
Other sources of funding include:
- Tennessee Valley Authority—$25,000;
- Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau—$25,000;
- Oak Ridge Rowing Association—$25,000;
- Visit Knoxville—$15,000; and
- Oak Ridge Economic Development Initiative, a partnership between the city and Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce—$25,000 in unused funds from last year.
Also, the Anderson County Tourism Council has received a $40,000 state tourism grant that will be used for the project.
The addition of the eighth lane at the rowing course at Oak Ridge Marina in east Oak Ridge has been included in the city’s CIP since 2005.
“It will allow the venue to compete for more and larger regatta events, and maintain Oak Ridge’s position as a top-tier rowing venue,” Watson said.
He said a request for $150,000 more from the Capital Improvements Program has been approved by City Council.
The city’s consulting engineers, Barge Waggoner Sumner and Cannon Inc., have reviewed bids and recommended proceeding with First Place Finish, the low bidder, Watson said.
Two other companies that submitted bids were Merit Construction of Knoxville ($582,707.00) and K&F Construction of Knoxville ($550,644.43).
Watson had given Oak Ridge City Council members a targeted estimated of $560,000 in March.
But after that, the city received two bids, and the low bid was $1.74 million, which was “totally out of line with projected estimates,” Watson said in a June 8 memo to City Council.
In early August, Watson said the project has a new design. The work should now be less intensive, and that should reduce the cost, Watson said. He said the previous low-cost design included pylons, which are expensive and require specialized contractors. The new design features a slope to a retaining wall, Watson said.
The project went out for bid on Tuesday, August 2, the same day the $40,000 grant was announced.
Official have said the eighth lane could be added to the Oak Ridge rowing course by March.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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