By Christopher J. Russo, Former City Manager
(September 1, 2015) – The needs of the Sunny Isles Beach residents are the top priority in everything City staff does as directed by the City Commission. There are more than a few noteworthy initiatives underway in our City. The biggest projects in progress include: the Pedestrian/Emergency Bridge from 174 to 172 Street, the rehabilitation of 174 Street, the renovations to Samson Oceanfront Park, the completion of Gateway Park, and the development of the property on the north side of the Government Center to address school expansion, senior, and community needs. I want to take you behind the scenes of three management decisions which took into account the impact on the quality of life for our residents.
Bids were recently received for the construction of the pedestrian/emergency bridge. This project is being constructed in close proximity to about 3600 condominium units. We evaluated the low bidder’s recommendations for what is called Value Engineering (VE). The bidder made recommendations to further reduce the price by changing some of the methodology for construction. In this case, the City could save money by revising the installation method for the concrete piles that will hold up the bridge. The plans call for casings to be vibrated into the bedrock under the water of the canal. The crew would drill down through this tubular casing and pour cement in the casing to form the pile. The low bidder had ordered to reduce the cost and time to install the piles by hammering in precast concrete piles, rather than drilling. This suggestion, and a few others, was investigated by engineers, inspectors, consultants and administrators. It was decided that the significant increase in noise from the constant hammering, was not in the best interest of our residents. This hammering precast method, was therefore rejected.
We have also started the long awaited rehabilitation of 174 Street. The challenge with this project is to minimize the impact to the residents of Winston Towers and all those who travel 174 Street. Staff has taken great care to break down the project into sections that will limit the inconvenience to our residents and provide unimpeded access for all using the street.
A major renovation to Samson Oceanfront Park is currently out to bid. These improvements will close the park, and all its amenities, for approximately 18 months. An access to the beach from Collins Avenue will be maintained during this time. A primary consideration became how to off-set the impact on our residents who use that beach access daily. Staff developed a plan to provide services on the beach for residents to have chairs, umbrellas and other necessities available during this time.
These three examples only touch on the many times which the residents come first in the decision making process. Our quality of life is well worth the added costs, the extra effort and the extended time it may take to get a job done. By planning ahead and covering any contingencies, we know the process will be a little more tolerable for our number one customer, the residents of Sunny Isles Beach.