Harwich Selectmen Concerned with Saquatucket Landside Cost Estimates

HARWICH – Some selectmen in Harwich are expressing concerns over the cost estimates for the landside renovation project at Saquatucket Marina.

The town is about to seek bids for the project which was approved by town meeting voters for $3 million.

The designs include a new harbormasters’ office, maintenance garage, boardwalks, artist shacks increased parking and a snack shed.

Original design plans came in with cost estimates over $5 million, which resulted in a proposed dockside restaurant being scaled back to a smaller snack shack and a ticket office being downsized to a shed.

“To me town meeting voted a $3 million project and I hope that we stay in that $3 million project,” said Michael MacAskill, a Harwich selectman.

MacAskill is concerned with the cost estimates especially for the snack shack. The facility’s price tag has increased from $172,000 to $320,000

“What really struck me was $469 per square foot,” MacAskill said. “And as a taxpayer, I can’t stomach the thought of us approving anything where somebody could charge us $469 per square foot.”

Estimates increased the cost of the maintenance garage from $214 to $283 per square foot. Decks and boardwalks costs have increased from $29 to $41 per square foot.

The town has applied for three separate grants to help offset costs of the project, including a $1 million through the state’s Seaport Economic Council, a $500,000 request through Coastal Zone Management and a $250,000 grant through the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board for ADA accessibility.

MacAskill said the board needs to tackle whether any approved grant funding would offset the $3 million approved by the town or if it would cover costs that would exceed the authorized amount.

Harbormaster John Rendon said work has been done to reduce costs to get back down to $3 million without losing the integrity of the project.

“I think we’ve made some headway there,” Rendon said.

The town is putting out three different contracts for bid. The first contract is all the buildings and boardwalks. The second contract is the site work and the last is for the septic system.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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