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Southwest Orange Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021 2 weeks ago

Windermere awards stormwater-improvement design contracts

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Kimley-Horn will begin the design process for stormwater-maintenance improvements in the Butler and Bessie basins.
by: Danielle Hendrix Associate Editor

With stormwater-maintenance concepts for Windermere’s Butler and Bessie basins complete, Town Council gave staff the green light to award Kimley-Horn and Associates the design contracts.

Council members voted unanimously Tuesday, Feb. 9, to approve the AIA design contracts between the town and Kimley-Horn. 

The town was awarded grants under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program following Hurricane Irma. The grants allow the town to move forward with stormwater-
maintenance improvement projects to help alleviate flooding issues in certain areas around town — including in the Butler and Bessie basins.  

The grants fund much of the projects, but the town will be responsible for a portion of the costs. The council already has approved the do-not-exceed amounts for the two projects. For the 118 Butler St. and Seventh Avenue project, that totals $163,647; for the 119 Bessie St. and Ninth Avenue project, the cap is $216,264.

According to town documents, staff submitted requests for quotations for both projects to various firms, but only Kimley-Horn responded.

In the concept stage of these projects, Kimley-Horn also gave the town an option for a long-term maintenance plan. Town Council decided to leave that option off the current contracts. 

“We approved the do-not-exceed amounts, and it’s a la carte, so if and when you want to do that maintenance plan at a future date, we still have pricing and options to do that,” Town Manager Robert Smith said. “The only thing we had to work out was the formal RFQ processes specific to these two projects, which we did. We actually reached out to three additional firms, as well, to make sure we crosse all our Ts and dotted our Is.”

“We approved the do-not-exceed amounts, and it’s a la carte, so if and when you want to do that maintenance plan at a future date, we still have pricing and options to do that.”  — Town Manager Robert Smith

“I believe it was council’s intent to not have those maintenance plans put on this RFQ — that we’d either look at that globally in an RFQ process, or do that in house based upon direction of council and consultation of staff,” Mayor Jim O’Brien said.

Council Member Bill Martini asked if there were any updates from Kimley-Horn on when staff and council members could be seeing the designs.

“One of my concerns, obviously, since there’s been so much public input on this, I want to make sure that we have plenty of time to review all those for the residents,” Martini said. “Plus, we’re going to have some new council members most likely by that time, so it’s going to be a lot of getting up to speed on their part, as well.”

Smith said because Kimley-Horn has been assisting the town in drafting concepts and working on design, it should be a relatively smooth process. 

“There will be no issues as far as any transition of information or lack of communication as far as what was said before and what’s being put in place now,” Smith said.

 

PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE

Town Council members also unanimously approved the concept design for a new pedestrian bridge set to replace the existing one at South Lake Butler Boulevard and Dirt Main Street.

Staff hosted a workshop Jan. 26 to discuss the options, and Town Council consensus was favorable to a curved design called Bridge Brothers Bowstring, along with a black-paint finish.

Other paint finishes — such as brown or bronze — are available, but council members agreed to stick with black paint, because it fits in more with the town’s current color scheme.

“I brought up concerns about, depending on size of it, how obtrusive black would be, but being that it’s only 6 feet tall, I would be OK with black,” Council Member Chris Sapp said.

“It’s in keeping with the rest of the town’s signs and posts,” Martini added.

Although not included in the concept-design approval, the breadth of the bridge’s vertical pickets is another factor council members wanted to take into consideration moving forward into design. According to town documents, including thicker pickets would cost an extra $6,000, but they also would be less likely to bend should they be hit by something.

“Just for future reference, I think we’re definitely interested in looking at the stronger side members,” Mayor Jim O’Brien said. “That will probably pay off down the road in maintenance and aesthetic.”

Danielle Hendrix is the Associate Editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. She is a 2015 graduate of the University of Central Florida, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in world comparative studies. ...

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