Village Approves Additional $17,500 for Footbridge Planning

Village President Michael West says contractor Ayers should "Bring their A game."

Though the Fox Point Village Board still has not yet decided whether to rebuild, replace or remove the Bridge Lane Ravine Footbridge, they allocated another $17,500 to planning purposes at their meeting Tuesday.

Ayers Associates, the contracter who the village to plan a new bridge, asked for the additional funding to meet the Village Board's requests for renderings of the bridge in order to solicit donations.

"These renderings is what this project is hinging upon," Trustee Christine Symchych said.

The board has resolved not to move forward with construction before residents secure $625,000 in donations for the project, with a deadline of January 31, 2013. That value is approximately half of a rough estimation for the total cost of constructing a new bridge, not including the approximately $250,000 cost of removing the old bridge.

Board members were critical of the new amount requested by Ayers Tuesday, but eventually approved the full $17,500 that comes on top of an original contract for $37,773, as Public Works Director Scott Brandmeier recommended.

The money will be allocated as follows:

  • $2,500 for the bridge rendering plans
  • $5,600 for formal landscape plans
  • $5,400 for additional meetings with village officials
  • $4,000 for administrative and project management

Two trustees, Symchych and F. R. Dengel, voted against approving the amended contract, expressing disappointment with Ayers for past work and the lack of specific explanation for the need for new funds. 

"As far as the words in this document, I find them inadequate," Symchych said. "I’m feeling a little nickel-and-dimed by Ayers, to be honest. Vague language like that enables another revision and another $10,000 in cost, and honestly I’m getting a little frustrated by this."

Symchych said Ayers did not provide enough details about the renderings they would provide, such as whether they will be in color, the format and the size.

When Brandmeier said he thought those points could be presumed as adequate, Symchych was skeptical.

"I would have anticipated other things that haven’t happened either," she said.

"Me, too," Trustee Beverly Bell added, nodding.

However, for some on the board, a provision that Ayers promises to "make revisions as per Village comments" was comforting.

"I think we’re getting ourselves much too deeply into the nitty gritty of this particular thing," Trustee Eric Fonstad said. "I think we should be relying on staff to go forward. They’ve made their recommendation."

Additionally, Village President Michael West asked Brandmeier, the go-between with Ayers, to make it clear that Ayers should "bring their 'A game.'"

"We were a little underwhelmed by their landscape plan initially, which included cutting down all sorts of trees," Symchych said. "I am hoping that perhaps there’s a little creativity and innovation and nice graphics that accompany this because we need something that people can buy into, and way better than initially was presented. A reminder wouldn’t hurt."

Ayers plans to finish rendering drawings by May 15, on a track to present a final design to the public in November or December. They plan to complete construction bid documents by Dec. 21, so the village can open the project for bids Feb. 1.

Bob Cory May 10, 2012 at 12:29 PM
The village bd has been asked repeatedly to put the Ravine Bridge to a referendum vote by the residents. They refuse, or West does. The caution is that most of the residents are not aware of the fact that the village will spend nearly 2 million on a relatively obscure project. If the tax payers knew this the project wold fail quickly. The bridge fund raisers are required to raise half of the cost. They are working with a figure of $625,000.00 plus fund raiser cost and this is not the required 1/2 amount. The whole thing is a bag of worms. And west is pushing it. When the latest estimate comes out then we will see what happens.
Absolutelyfabulous May 10, 2012 at 12:54 PM
"These renderings is what this project is hinging upon," Trustee Christine Symchych said. Well said.. It would be interesting to find out what Ayers bills out per hour of services to see how they came to these figures especially the landscape designs since they should already have done preliminary work/site observations and have that info available for the 2nd go around. W/ regard to them underwhelming the Village/officials the 1st time on the landscape designs, were there any paramaters laid out/visions discussed before they proceeded to put the plans together and essentially waste taxpayers $$$ & time? People aren't mind readers. Though, the fact that this company has to be told to bring their A-Game the 2nd time around is ridiculous.
Don Jacobs May 10, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Just a little speculation.......it would not be unusual for a municipality to request a bid from a contractor and then reduce the contractors scope of work to get the price down. It would also not be unusual for the municipality to then be unhappy with the work submitted by the contractor due to the reduced scope of work (read lower price/lower quality) and then authorize additional expenditures to get the work done that was originally desired. This is a game played on the taxpayers when an issue is a political hot potato....


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