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Siesta Key Thursday, Sep. 6, 2012 5 years ago

Beach project price tag reviewed

by: Alex Mahadevan News Innovation Editor

Members of the Siesta Key Association during a Sept. 6 monthly meeting may get the first look at a cheaper Siesta Key public beach improvement plan, according to Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp. Director Mark Smith.

Sarasota County Project Manager Curtis Smith told Mark Smith he plans to present the revised plans, in which costs were cut to make it more feasible to complete construction before 2024 — the current timeline.
“I told (Curtis Smith) he’d be a real hero if he could have (plans ready) by the SKA meeting,” Mark Smith said.

The new emergency operations center and the new Gulf Gate Library, which both have full funding approved, had different fiscal trajectories. The latter’s price tag fell from about $12 million, when proposed, to $7.5 million in 2010, then settled at just more than $10 million. The emergency operations center, which will greatly enhance the wind-damage protection for the county’s emergency management department, fell $5 million in estimated cost from 2010, to its current state at $15 million. (See charts.)

The two projects offer a view of how variable forecasts can be and highlight the differences that could come when the Siesta beach improvement project reaches 90% design completion. Mark Smith said during the Sept. 4 Village Association meeting there was some wishful thinking factored into the 60% completed design plan.

Lourdes Ramirez, former president of SKA, said an observation deck that allows tourists to see Venice and the boardwalk were unnecessary. An outspoken critic of the inflated price tag, Ramirez said the $21.4 million project could be pared down to $6 million and still expand parking by 450 spaces.

“So that’s my two cents,” she said.

There is currently about $7 million earmarked for the project, as of the latest preliminary budget for the 2013 fiscal year.

According to documents provided by Sarasota County Public Works, the largest cost increases happened when lighting and changes to parking lot plans were reconfigured in the 60% completion phase, which added about $5.2 million to the price tag. This was after another parking configuration increased the cost by $1.8 million last year.

Mapping the cost variance and taking into account each line item is not an easy task, Mark Smith said during the meeting. Trivial aspects, such as rubber piping circumference, complicate such an analysis, he explained.

“What I told him was that the Siesta Key community — communities — and all the organizations were very much in favor of the project and don’t want the project to fall by the wayside due to budgeting issues,” Mark Smith said. “We’re all pulling for the same thing.”

Contact Alex Mahadevan at [email protected].

Click here to see a breakdown of Siesta Key beach improvements: wants vs. needs. 

Siesta Key beach improvement cost variance

Year            Cost
2008            $6.6 million
2011            $17.1 million
2011            $16.7 million
2012            $16.2 million
2012            $21.4 million

Gulf Gate Library replacement cost variance

Year            Cost
2007            12.05 million
2008            12.118 million
2010            7.48 million
2011            7.48 million
2012            9.403 million
2013            10.08 million

Emergency Operations Center cost variance

Year            Cost
2010            $20.833 million
2011            $20.833 million
2012            $14.49 million
2013            $15.63 million


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