A vote this week by Tacoma City Council could help to re-open Old Town Dock by the middle of next year.
Councilmembers are scheduled to vote Tuesday on a purchase resolution that would award a $1.7 million contract to begin rehabilitation of the 139-year-old dock, which has been closed to visitors for four years.
The dock, located at 2123 Schuster Parkway and stretching out into Commencement Bay, dates back to 1873 and has been a hub for a variety of activities: a wharf for commercial fishing vessels; a chance to get closer to the water while visiting Tacoma’s Old Town neighborhood; a place for emergency services such as the Coast Guard and Tacoma Fire to hold rescue exercises; and a quiet spot to cast rod-and-reel and do some fishing on a sunny afternoon.
In July 2008, however, it was closed to visitors after the city’s public works department deemed it a danger to visitors. The deck is deteriorating and the structure lacks a handrail. In 2009, underwater inspections revealed structural deficiencies. The following year, a public meeting was held in Old Town to share the results of a structural survey that aimed to assist in the repairs and modifications required to reopen the dock and outline the next steps. A five-person advisory group was created to guide the process. Two assessments were completed to determine the extent of damage and establish a project budget. Later that year, Tacoma City Council awarded a $319,000 contract to Reid Middleton to perform design, permitting, and construction support services for the repairs. The City contributed $159,500; Metro Parks contributed $159,500. Last year, Tacoma City Council approved an additional $30,890 toward the project to cover additional design services.
Additionally, the city consulted with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, and was awarded a permit to begin construction from the Army Corps of Engineers in June. One requirement of the permit was the installation of several steel pilings before Oct. 15. “The late receipt of the permit and the requirement within the permit . . . has created the need to award the contract as soon as possible to ensure the entire project is completed by June 2013,” according to Tacoma Public Works Director Richard E. McKinley.
If councilmembers approve the purchase resolution Tuesday, a contract will be awarded to Quigg Bros., Inc. to complete the project, which involves replacing deteriorated wooden pilings, structural members, and decking; installing new hand rails, lighting, and fire suppression on the dock; re-aligning the main breakwater float; installing three new finger floats to allow for transient moorage; and making upland improvements that would meet Americans with Disability Act requirements.
The contract amount reflects a base award of $1,518,651.00, plus sales tax, plus a 12 per cent contingency, for a cumulative amount of $1,700,889.12, plus sales tax. Tacoma opened bidding for the project on July 24, 2012, and received five proposals. The lowest bid was made by McClure and Sons, Inc. According to McKinley, however, the contractor withdrew its bid due to an error, making Quigg Bros., Inc. the lowest responsible and responsive bidder.
A new restroom planned for the dock will not be included in this contract. “Staff is working on selecting a design contractor for this work,” added McKinley. “Staff anticipates a fourth-quarter 2013 completion for this work.”
In November 2005, Tacoma voters approved an $84.3 million bond measure to fund a variety of park improvements through 2013. The park improvements include $5.5 million to be directed toward matching funds for the promenade extension through the Asarco site to Point Defiance, reconstruction of Old Town Dock, new site lighting and furnishings, and utilities, rest room and concession renovations.
Tacoma City Council is scheduled to vote on the resolution during its meeting on Tues., Aug. 21 at 5 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the first floor of the Tacoma Municipal Building, located 747 Market Street. The agenda and meeting materials are available online here. Meetings are streamed live online here and broadcast live on TV Tacoma.