State, city begin big Mill Pond investment

The state’s oyster lab is set to get a renovation this year.

The state’s oyster lab is set to get a renovation this year.

David Adlerstein
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 02:13 PM.

Both the state and city are moving forward this month with major investments at Scipio Creek, with the state set to pour nearly a $1 million in renovating and modernizing the aging structure that houses aquaculture regulators.

In addition, the city last week awarded a nearly $330,000 contract to Poloronis Construction to complete a haul-out facility at the marina, long known by locals as the Mill Pond dating back to the days when a saw mill was located there.

While the two projects have separate funding sources, they are intertwined in that they are two major pieces of what city officials hope will be a revitalized area for preserving and enhancing the struggling seafood industry.

At the Feb. 5 city commission meeting, City Administrator Betty Taylor Webb presented seven bids for constructing the haul-out facility, work to be managed by Baskerville Donovan’s Richard Delp.

She said that since the industry has said a 60-ton lift is what is needed, the base bids for a 50-ton facility would be sufficient. These bids ranged from a high of $581,000 from H.G. Harders & Son, Inc. to Poloronis’ low bid. The only other bid under a half-million dollars was $349,000 from Cathey Construction and Development.

Drawing on millions in federal stimulus money to complete the overall Scipio Creek renovation, Taylor-Webb said that $230,000 has been granted for the portion of the project covered by Poloronis’ bid.  The additional $100,000 that is needed will come from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DOACS), which has plans to modify its original plans for housing its barge at the marina.

Taylor-Webb said DOACS notified the city in late 2010 that the state was planning to turn over the task of conducting oyster shelling to a private company. As a result, the state decided to withdraw about $350,000 it planned to spend to build a new bulkhead for the barge, and fill some wetlands in the area to accommodate the barge’s presence.

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