By Kathryn Casey, Island Eye News Staff Writer
After going back to the drawing board several times, the Isle Of Palms Planning Commission has completed its final Request For Proposals for the Isle of Palms Marina Comprehensive Redevelopment Master Plan. The RFP calls for local contractors to help create a comprehensive redevelopment plan for the existing marina, which is located on the east side of the Intracoastal Waterway. The City’s goal is for the creation of a parking study and interim plan that will deal with the current parking issue, then lay out a proposal to deal with the other issues in stages.
When the project to renovate the marina was originally planned the City budgeted $175,000.
However, after making some last minute cuts to the 2015 budget, Council removed $100,000 of the funds for this project. Now with only $75,000 budgeted for the renovations, John Shaffer, the author of the RFP, believes that it would be advantageous to price each step of the renovations individually, that way the City can remove and negotiate parts of the overall plan to fit within the budget.
The five-page RFP lists the current issues with the Marina. These are:
The Planning Commission asked Shaffer, after their meeting on July 9, to amend the RFP to put more emphasis on the marina parking lot. It was important to the commission to include parking as the first step due to its current state. “On weekends, parking demand for boat trailers, visitors and employees at the marina and other businesses often exceeds the available spaces,” the commission said. “This creates a management challenge for the business and also results in cars and trailers parking in nearby neighborhoods.”
A dry stack is a marina facility that stores boats in a covered building. They hope that the dry stack will positively impact revenue, parking, congestion, etc. by stacking the boats on top of one another they will use less space.
The City plans to implement changes to the marina in concurrent phases, to prevent exceeding available funds for the project. Using a set of phases ensures that the City will have time to raise the funds necessary before completing each step.
“Any improvements will have to be planned, budgeted and phased so that the work can be performed during the off-season, minimizing the impacts to the marina businesses and their revenue,” the commission said.
With this plan in place, the proposed completion date for the marina redevelopment is sometime in 2015/2016.
The RFP further describes the tasks of the project, including creating a parking study and interim plan, making a project information update and review, scoping the stakeholder workshop, regulator and engineering feasibility, marina and dry stack market assessment, redevelopment plan, pro forma financial analysis, and meetings and coordination.
The next step is to have the RFP reviewed by city staffers and the city lawyer.
“We can expect it to be published and out for bids in August or September,” said City Administrator, Linda Tucker.