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Rivercane moving along

By By Adam Prestridge
Despite a slight hiccup in the development of Phase 1 of Rivercane, officials with the Atmore Industrial Development Board are pushing forward.
Thursday, the board met in the Atmore council chambers to discuss various components of the development including combining Phase 1 and the construction on Hwy. 21, which includes adding turn lanes, together when bids are solicited for a second time. Although 14 contractors picked up copies of the bid plans, only one bid on the project, which exceeded the city's engineering firm, Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc.'s projected construction estimate of $2.6 million by more than $1.5 million with a bid of $4,120,000. The estimated cost for the Hwy. 21 construction is $600,000.
"That's greatly over the engineer's estimated price of construction," Atmore mayor Howard Shell said during last Monday's council meeting where the council unanimously denied the bid on Phase 1 of the project.
During the meeting, board members discussed several ways to cut costs in Phase 1 without taking away from the overall appearance of the project. For example, in the initial plans, the sidewalk that will go around the lake shows a six-inch thickness of concrete, but could be altered to four inches thick to save the city money.
"Generally the sidewalks around your neighborhood are four inches thick, however, it's been our experience when you have trails around parks like this you'll have trucks drive across them for maintenance and the sidewalks can crack," engineer Euel Screws with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc. said. "That's a $50,000 issue right there. All these things add up, so we're doing what we can, talking with contractors, doing whatever we can to get the project as low as possible without changing the overall concept and quality of the job."
Screws also gave several other "value engineering" examples of how to cut costs such as grading modifications around the amphitheatre and disposal of tree stumps.
The board also heard from Marshall Rogers with the Escambia County Industrial Development Authority who gave a spec building update and an update on industrial prospects.
Project manager Jim Corman concluded the meeting with an update on the possible acquisition of additional property to be included in the Rivercane project, which is being handled by Horne Properties. He also reported that the city's brokerage firms are working on a marketing plan to market the Rivercane property, which will include brochures and information on a Web Site currently under construction. Corman also announced that there are several other prospects that are interested in the project, but no other commitments have been made.
Corman also announced that the cost for landscaping Rivercane came in at $500,000 following a meeting in Montgomery last week. The total is substantially less than the $800,000 the board projected it would cost.
The new bids for Phase 1 of the project will be due in for review on July 21 and will be brought to the council during the July 24 council meeting.
"That way it does not delay the project too much," Corman said.