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City staff, design consultant looking for ways to reduce streetscape project costs in CRA

By Staff | Aug 16, 2017

While Community Redevelop-ment Agency commissioners recommended that the Southeast 47th Terrace streetscape project continue as planned despite significant cost increases, city staff and design consultant CPH, Inc., are working to find ways to bring costs down.

Public Works Director Paul Clinghan told commissioners at Tuesday’s CRA meeting that costs in the last year have gone up 15 to 20 percent. The biggest jump in costs came in the area of lighting and utilities. The revised budget figure is $9.8 million, up from the previous budget of $8.5 million.

CRA Executive Director John Szerlag said there is potential savings to be had in the number and type of street and landscape lighting fixtures yet to be chosen. That part of the budget rose nearly 50 percent from $900,000 to almost $1.3 million.

Additional cost increases to the major added value items like utilities, lighting and sidewalk pavers added $3 million to the project cost and now puts the total cost between $12 and $13 million.

Staff proposes to work with property owners to reduce the number of driveways through shared access agreements, which will save on construction costs.

The Finance Department recommends the utilities and storm drain improvements be cash funded with the remainder of the project, including Club Square, to be debt funded through the CRA at $1.2 million per year for up to 10 years.

Commissioners quizzed staff about any cost savings by eliminating the roundabout intersection in the project plans, but increased traffic through area growth and pedestrian visits drawn to the “destination” convinced them otherwise.

“I’m worried about strapping the CRA for cash for the next 10 years and what it would have to do if another project comes along,” said Commissioner Rick Williams. “I hate to burden the CRA to spend an additional $1 million for the next 10 years.”

Clinghan said the awarding of bids for the project should be done by the end of 2017 and the streetscape project completed by the end of 2018.

The commission’s 6-0 vote, with commissioners Jim Burch and Marni Sawicki absent, sends the CRA recommendation to a future City Council meeting for a vote.

Other items

An ordinance created in 2012 when the CRA district was rezoned to South Cape District regarding the parking standards for nonresidential land uses was set to expire on Aug. 20, but the CRA voted 6-0 Tuesday to extend the date to Aug. 20, 2025.

Parking shortages are anticipated as the area is redeveloped creating the need for a parking structure in the district.

“We see a parking problem in the future,” said Szerlag. “A parking structure could be the next project for the area.”

Staff presented its strategic plan and annual work program for 2018 and was approved by another unanimous vote.

The plan calls for changes to parking lots by fiscal year 2020 and supports the development of affordable workforce housing in the CRA.

The plan adds Club Square improvements to the Streetscape project and calls for a traffic study of the Southeast 47th Terrace project.

The next CRA meeting is set for Tuesday, Oct. 17.