Harwich’s Saquatucket Harbor Project to be Re-Bid

HARWICH – The Town of Harwich is seeking a second round of bids for the landside renovation project at Saquatucket Marina.

Selectmen have voted to instruct Town Administrator Cristopher Clark to reissue the call for bids after initial estimates came in well above the $3 million approved by voters for the project at town meeting.

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.

Clark told selectmen that they were surprised by the results of the bidding process.

“I think the problem is that, you know, we were hoping that we could do everything for $3 million and the bids didn’t come in that way so we had to make some decisions,” he said.

Board Chairman Michael MacAskill told fellow selectmen the project has gone well beyond what was originally approved by voters and questioned the competency of the architects for underestimating the scale of the project.

Selectmen have expressed concerned with the cost estimates for the snack shack in particular. The facility’s price tag has increased from $172,000 to $385,426.

“There are two things that we sold this to town meeting with, the office and the garage.” said Selectman Don Howell.

“It concerns me that we’re having all this conversation about the snack shack and we’re not thinking in terms of okay we need to fund the garage and the garage has to be built at some point and I’m worried that that’s going to be a discussion about how we need more money or we won’t get a garage,” he said

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.

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.

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.

Harwich is moving forward with the harbor’s waterside dock replacement project which is slated to get underway this month. Officials hope that work on all facets of the endeavor can be conducted during the off-season so as to minimize the impact to the harbor.

By DAVID BEATTY, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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