SEMINOLE — Piece by piece, the long-awaited Waterfront Park is beginning to come together.
A few of those pieces — an observation boardwalk, access trail and restroom — all took a step forward to coming to fruition May 26 when the City Council approved awarding two contracts worth more than $600,000 to a pair of contractors.
Bayshore Construction Inc. will build the boardwalk on Boca Ciega Bay at the southeast portion of the park, which is along Park Boulevard next to Home Depot.
According to the contract, construction must be completed by Sept. 25.
City Manager Ann Toney-Deal was pleased to inform councilors that the $141,133 bid was far below the city engineer’s estimate of $350,000.
Councilor Roger Edelman, however, was concerned that it was so much lower than the seven bids received, the highest being $339,000.
“I just hope that we have vetted them carefully and that we don’t have any other problems,” he said. “Because, frankly, that number is extremely low compared with what everybody else is bidding.”
Public Works Director Rodney Due said he shared the same concern at first. But he was pleasantly surprised after checking Bayshore’s references, which included the senior engineer for Pinellas County.
“He told me they’ve done over 10 miles of boardwalks for the county over the past 16 years,” he said, citing work done at John Chestnut Sr. and Fort DeSoto parks. “He said the man is amazing. He always comes in on target. You don’t get change orders.”
After checking more references, he said he was shocked by the praise for the family-owned business.
“They know how to do it because that’s all they do,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Councilor Jim Quinn said he also appreciated that composite wood would be used for the project that will include two designated fishing areas.
He said the same was at Yellowstone National Park when he visited and he was impressed by the quality.
“This stuff is unbelievable. … If it can withstand being around the geysers at Yellowstone, it’ll withstand fishermen and the roughnecks in Seminole,” he said.
The other contract councilors approved was a bid of $470,692 to Khors Construction Inc. to build a restroom and access trail sidewalk.
That bid came in over the estimate, but Toney-Deal said an additional storage facility increased the cost.
The majority of funding for the project will come from Penny for Pinellas sales tax revenue.
A $200,000 grant from the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund will also help fund portions of both projects. The grant does require the city to match the $200,000.