May 2, 2023 – From the Deck of City Manager Eric Waara:
We’re sure some people are wondering what’s going on with the parking deck and the Lakeshore Drive Corridor Redevelopment Project.
Since the last email, we were able to work with the contractor (MJO) and the engineer on “value engineering” which means we were able to cut some things out and we were able to modify the design on some elements to build them at a lower cost. Last week, the City Council was presented an overall plan which reduced the contract price by change order and added funds to the project to close the remaining gap in the funding. MEDC was not able to increase their funding amount over the $1,000,000 we received under the Revitalization and Placemaking Program rules. The Council approved the plan so the project can move forward. We are just awaiting MEDC’s concurrence with the plan to finalize the contract.
We could go through an exhaustive list of the changes, many of which were simply buying less of some things, but the project scope is still the same:
· The deck will be removed
· There will be two parking lots on the ground
· There will be sidewalks on both sides of Lakeshore Drive
· There will be two large rain gardens north of Pewabic Street between the parking lot and the sidewalk
· Around the parking lots will be landscaped and there will be landscaped islands along the south side sidewalks, including trees
· Street lighting will be installed
· The pedestrian walkway and gathering area will be built between Michigan Made and the Print Shop
· That walkway will have a “gateway arch”, overhead lighting, plantings, etc. and will lead to a sidewalk through the parking lot to stairs down to the trail
So, what’s next? In the coming weeks we’ll be able to get a firm schedule and work sequence from MJO so we can start nailing down dates, locations, etc. Soon you’ll be hearing from us on a lot of things like parking, closing of those deck-facing doors, trash collection, delivery access, when the weekly meetings will be, and so on. What we do know at the moment:
· MJO’s subcontractor who will be doing the demo has an extensive list of experience in demolishing post-tensioned structures like this deck.
· If everything goes according to plan, they plan to start first with taking that breezeway off the Hall Building and making any needed repairs to the façade where the breezeway was attached.
· They plan to start deck demolition on the east side. The current goal is to start right after Memorial Day.
· The west side will stay open for awhile, and then will be demolished after the east side is down.
· They are expecting that each side will take about 3 weeks to take down. Once the deck is actually down everything as far as access, etc. gets a lot easier.
· Depending on which side of the deck they’ll be demolishing the waterfront trail will be detoured. When they are working on the east side people will be detoured toward the water and onto the Pier about midway. When they are working on the west half, pedestrians and bikes will need to use the dock until midway.
· For those of you abutting the deck, the contractor will be sending in people to do a survey of your building to document conditions before the demolition starts.
We might even have more detail on dates, etc. as soon as this week. As soon as we have more information we’ll be sharing it.
And for those who had met with the team from Progressive on April 10 and 11 – they will be circling back around with their observations and recommendations. However, it might be a month or two.
Eric T. Waara, P.E.
Houghton City Manager