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Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta has been critical of construction cost estimates associated with capital-improvement projects. Photo by Alex Mahadevan.
Sarasota Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 4 years ago

Sarasota County commissioners protest new Lido Key restrooms

by: Alex Mahadevan News Innovation Editor

Sarasota County commissioners delayed another spending decision Feb. 26, with concerns about construction costs.

Commissioners voted to move discussion of a contract with Core Construction Services of FL LLC, for construction of the South Lido Beach Park restrooms, to a March 6 meeting.

“We’re doing restrooms I can’t justify to the taxpayers,” said Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta during the meeting. He did approve the contractor county staff selected.

The contractor submitted the lowest of six bids ranging from $859,000 to $1.2 million Nov. 14. Core Construction’s bid was about 6% less than the engineer’s estimate of $915,617.

The total project cost is $1.3 million including construction management and construction engineering-and-inspection services.

The decision delays the construction timeline by at least 12 days. Construction is expected to take place from March to December.

The County Commission decision came months after similar discussions regarding the Siesta Key Beach improvement project, which Siesta architect Mark Smith criticized for having an oversized construction estimate at roughly $16 million.

Many of the features in the Lido Beach restroom-replacement project are designed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Federal Emergency Management Agency regulations.

Staff picked the materials and design to withstand vandalism and ensure a lifespan stretching between 30 to 50 years. The structures, which include family restrooms, handicap restrooms and a multi-purpose room, are designed to withstand 130 mph winds, said Sarasota County Project Manager Brenda Bair.

“It’s not gold-plated, but we’re designing it so it can last,” Bair said.

An IMPLAN economic analysis predicts the project will create 11 jobs and spur $1.4 million worth of economic impact.

The County Commission approved the project in 2007, as part of the 2008-2012 capital-improvement program. Funding will come from Surtax III bonds to be paid back with the infrastructure surtax.

“There are lots of projects we’re not getting to build that need it,” said Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson.

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