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Thursday, February 25, 2016
Once in a blue moon, we like to check in on some of the construction projects the City of Raleigh has out for bid.
Since we tend to cover construction projects in either the early planning or final permitting stages, a lack of coverage on these bids does not translate to a lack of coverage on the projects being bid, if that makes sense.
As it happens though, a pair o’ projects currently out for bid happen to tie in to two projects we’ve covered previously. A look at the bid packages should offer a nice little update on each of them, something we like to provide because it gives us an excuse to run that Robert Stack photo.
First up is a bid due March 16 for the renovation of the farmhouse at the Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve. I wrote about the planned redevelopment of the park about two-and-a-half years ago. Time flies. I actually remember writing part of that article on a Greyhound bus on my back from a visit up north. If you’ve never taken Greyhound, well, I’d advise you keep it that way.
The redevelopment of the park, already a beautiful place, included plans for everything from bio-retention cells to an off-grid, “composting” restroom facility. As gross as that facility sounds, I think it’s actually pretty brilliant. Even though that 2013 article is pretty long, there’s some interesting stuff in there about this sort of “green” landscape design.
At this point, phase one of the project has been completed. According to the City, work included “improvements to the entrance drive and dam, parking, signage, soft surface walking trails, connection to Neuse River Greenway, picnic shelter and restroom facility.”
The bid right now is for work on the farmhouse that sits on the property. In 2014, the City received a $250,000 grant for its renovation. According to the specifications, work will include: the demolition of a two-story addition of approximately 1,200 square feet and renovation of a 1,230 square foot one-story wood-framed building. Demolition work will include removal of some interior finishes, systems and construction, as well as removal of the existing roofing and plumbing, mechanical and electrical. Renovated spaces will include a main gathering hall/reception area, a n office, a kitchen, an exhibit room, a bathroom, additional storage, and mechanical spaces. Program includes exterior spaces, including an access path, and accessible walkway. There will be grading, utility, parking, driveway, and pathway site work.
The specifications document for this project is 458 pages long; that paragraph was on page 12. Even though I was looking for it, I missed it on my first go-round. If you’ve never bid on a construction project before (I haven’t), the amount of boilerplate legalese that’s apparently required is staggering. Take it from me: I skimmed through hundreds of pages worth.
Next up, we’ve got a project that came up during the discussion at last week’s Council session on Bikeshare: the installation of new bike racks throughout the city.
When Raleigh’s Transportation Planning Manager Eric Lamb was asked whether the bikeshare program would incorporate bike racks, he said they would not be included as part of bikeshare, but that the city was looking to install new bike racks.
Bids for the project are due at 2 p.m.oon, so if it’s something you’re interested in, you still have some time. You’ll just need to figure out the cost associated with: the installation of 5 custom bike racks, procurement and installation of 10‐15 new Dero Downtown in‐ ground Bike Racks, procurement and installation 20‐30 Dero Downtown surface‐mount Bike Racks, procurement and installation 3‐5 Dero Cycle Stall Basic on street bike corrals, and associated equipment and site work.
If you don’t feel like doing the math, that means Raleigh will be installing between 38 and 55 new bike racks throughout the City.
Out of curiosity, we decided to look up some of these racks on Dero’s website. While the basic design for the Downtown model is pretty utilitarian, they do offer customization that allows buyers to do everything from change the shape of the rack into a bike to adding their logo in the center. This one below was my personal favorite.
While Council is currently debating the merits of the bikeshare program, we don’t imagine they’ll hesitate when it comes time to awarding this contract, as it ties into exactly what Councilor Crowder said the City’s duty was in regard to bikes: improving the infrastructure. More bike racks is an essential part of that.