ROGERS CITY - The bids are in, and City of Rogers City Council has selected a contractor to dredge the municipal marina.
At a special meeting Friday, city council reviewed three bids and chose one submitted by Dean Marine & Excavating of Mt. Clemens, interim City Manager Terri Koss said. The contractor sent in the lowest bid, at $168,289.20. The work will give boaters with deep drafts more room to maneuver.
During the 2013 boating season, Harbormaster Roger Wenzel said he and other marina staff had to warn incoming sailboats about water levels in the channel and near the fuel docks. Record-low water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron had rebounded somewhat, but parts of the channel didn't have enough depth for larger sailboats.
"Eight-foot draft boats were touching bottom, and we had to be really careful when we brought them in," he said.
Once the dredging is finished, the marina should have around 10 feet of depth through the entrance to the fuel docks and launch ramp, plus down the channel along the outside wall, Wenzel said. He's hoping the added depth will attract more sailors in the 2014 boating season.
"I know if I had a million-dollar boat that drafted nine feet, I'd say, 'If you can't guarantee me you've got nine feet, I'm not coming in,'" he said.
Since Dean's bid came in below budget, Wenzel said he's hoping the contractor can dig between two other docks to create even more space.
Wenzel also is hoping the project will give the marina, and in turn Rogers City, a boost. Preliminary numbers show the city's marina had slightly fewer boats than last year, at 380 down from more than 400, Wenzel said. Lower water levels might have contributed to a dip in sailboat visitors and slip renters, as there were 39 fewer sailboats in the marina this year.
"Everything we can help out with the harbor helps the town out considerably," he said, adding boaters visiting the marina frequently ask for directions to restaurants and stores.
Rogers City's marina is one of 49 statewide to receive a slice of $20.94 million the state set aside for emergency dredging, according to the Department of Natural Resources. The move came early in 2013 as water levels around most of the Great Lakes hit new lows. Rogers City was approved for up to $227,500, with no local match required.
Grant funds come with stipulations, and Rogers City's marina must be dredged by Dec. 31 or the city risks losing the money, Wenzel said. Before dredging can begin, Dean must submit insurance, bonding and other documents,. These documents prove the company has the coverage and financial resources to tackle the project, and foot its costs if something goes wrong. The DNR also must review the bid, and Dean must finish work in Alpena.
Kokosing Construction Co. of Cheboygan sent in a bid for $354,500, and Luedtke Engineering of Frankfort sent one for $473,850, Koss said.
The contractor will dig around 6,000 cubic yards of sediment out of the marina, Wenzel said. The spoils will be dumped either at an old landfill on Cedar Street west of Bradley Highway, or on lowlands just south of South Shore Park.
For her part, Koss said she'll be relieved when the project begins. The marina is an important part of the city's tourism draw, and the permitting process for the project took much longer than originally hoped.
"It'll be nice when it gets started so we can make sure it's wrapped up," she said.