GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis City Commissioners gathered Tuesday evening to discuss waterfront project updates as the need to get an operation bid gets ever closer to grant use deadlines.
Michael Williamson, with the engineering firm E.L. Robinson, took the floor with city representative Ed Swisher to discuss updates to the waterfront project that has experienced a few delays due to state requirements.
“On May 5, we met with the (Ohio Department of Natural Resources representative) who came down to review the plans that were submitted March 17 to get the final approval,” Swisher said. “We had already submitted 50 percent and these were the 90 percent plans. We met with three gentlemen.”
Swisher said city representatives met with grant overseers of future phases of the project as well as earlier ones. ODNR representatives said they wanted to see more changes regarding the boating access area. Plan changes had previously been submitted in regards to parking. State officials wanted to see more done around the ramp area of the Public Use Area and courtesy docking. According to Williamson, ODNR representatives want the courtesy docks to be more accessible and in line with Americans with Disabilities Act parameters. The grade of sidewalks and rails may need added to existing plans.
“They also want improvements made to the existing courtesy docks,” Williamson said. “They need to be ADA accessible, so the plan right now is to put in an ADA accessible sidewalk and gangway and replace the current floating docks with new floating docks. They are also discussing if they will allow us to do a sidewalk extension along First Avenue and also if we’re allowed to move the camper hookups for the water and electric. There are three hookups down there (in the PUA) now.”
ODNR also wants more boat and trailer parking spaces with less regular parking spaces.
Commissioners expressed concern with a planning process that has seemingly taken longer than anticipated to be able to bid the construction project out. The more than $1 million granted to Gallipolis has an expiration deadline of Dec. 31 of this year, if not used. Swisher told commissioners he felt there was strong likelihood the state would allow for exceptions to the project and funding processes given he and E.L. Robinson have been providing state officials with monthly updates to show that effort is being made to complete the project.
City Manager Gene Greene told commissioners that city officials had done all they could with the building planning process for the time being and were somewhat at the mercy of the state’s timing as plans are negotiated and being approved by ODNR officials.
Revised plans will likely be submitted to ODNR on May 30. Reviews supposedly take two to three weeks. If the plans are received with approval within a month, waterfront project planners would like to put the project out to bid around June 26. Ideally, this would mean a pre-construction meeting could be conducted Aug. 11.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.