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County OKs contract for bait house
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Photo courtesy PINELLAS COUNTY
A drawing shows the front elevation of a bait house to be constructed adjacent to the Belleair Causeway Bridge.
CLEARWATER – Pinellas County Commissioners gave unanimous approval Feb. 25 to a contract for professional design build services with Caladesi Construction Company of Largo for the Belleair Causeway bait house.

The bait house will be located adjacent to the Belleair Causeway Bridge at 3900 West Bay Drive in Belleair Bluffs.

According to staff notes, the building will be constructed on an elevated deck system of about 1,760 square feet and will be designed to allow space for a private concessionaire to do business. The concessionaire, to be selected through a separate competitive process, will be required to install his or her own equipment and furnishings.

The project is divided into two phases. Phase 1 includes programming schematic design/design development and construction documents to come up with a guaranteed lump sum price. Phase Two is the building construction phase.

Commissioners will approve the lump sum price prior to beginning Phase 2. Staff estimates that the project will take about one year to complete.

Cost of Phase 1 is “not to exceed” $86,960. The total estimated project cost for Phase 1 and Phase 2 is $675,000. Funding is coming from the county’s Capital Improvement Program via Penny for Pinellas sales tax.

According to the project scope, preliminary site planning was done with Southwest Florida Water Management District during the construction of the Belleair Causeway Bridge, which began in 2006. Construction of the bridge was completed in 2010.

When the bridge was constructed the boat ramp park and its bait house was closed. A new park opening it January 2010 but did not include a new bait house. County staff recommended delaying the bait house and addition of permanent restrooms due to budget cuts to the capital improvement budget.

Officials talked about the possibility of allowing a concessionaire to open a mobile bait house until permanent facilities could be built. However, negotiations for a temporary mobile concessionaire did not work out. The Board of Adjustments for the city of Belleair Bluffs rejected a variance in January 2011 from a potential concessionaire because plans did not meet code requirements.

County commissioners agreed to move the restrooms and bait house up in the schedule of CIP projects in June of 2012. Permanent restroom facilities finally opened in May 2013. The bait house will conclude the work originally scheduled to occur with construction of the bridge.

Construction of the new bait house will include access, walkways, trash storage, equipment pads, landscaping, screening and all other site features as required.

The facility will include space for lease to a concessionaire, who would install and operate his or her own equipment and furnishings to supply bait, food and drink to the public. One restroom and a back deck with seating for 19 are included in the design.
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