Cape Girardeau takes next step on Fountain Street extension project

Monday, March 15, 2010

For the second time, the city of Cape Girardeau will consider bids for the construction of a two-block extension of Fountain Street to run between William and Morgan Oak streets.

The last round of bids opened in October were rejected because they all failed to meet the Missouri Department of Transportation's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program goal, said city engineer Kelly Green

MoDOT specified the project must have at least 6 percent participation from firms owned and operated by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

The bidding process was reopened March 8.

"This time, we made this requirement clear as part of the plan contractors must submit," Green said.

She will recommend tonight that the city council approve a bid of $1,014,077.68 by Nip Kelley Equipment Inc. as the lowest qualified bid. A lower bid was received from Lappe Cement Finishing Inc., however their bid was considered incomplete because of a lack of proper paperwork. As a result, Lappe's bid was disqualified, Green said. Coincidentally, Nip Kelley Equipment also was the low bidder in the first round of bidding in October.

A total of five bids were submitted for the Fountain Street project. Others included:

* Fronabarger Concreters Inc., at $1,017,926.60;

* Jokerst Inc., at $1,235,822.10;

* C.E. Contracting Inc., at $1,083,379.53.

The new road, 1,300 feet long, will be built on an abandoned railroad bed and finished with brick pavers in a herringbone pattern. The boulevard-style street will feature an eight foot landscaped median and a roundabout at the intersection of Morgan Oak and Fountain streets. Decorative street lights also are called for in the project plans.

"The intent of this project is to pull people into the downtown area from Highway 74 with a nice grand look," Green said.

While the project has been in the works for several years, under the city's recent DREAM Initiative master plan the Fountain Street extension is identified as a prime spot for commercial and residential development.

Old Town Cape executive director Marla Mills said her organization is working to develop a vision for this revitalized area.

"We believe it will develop quickly once construction is finished," she said. "It also will increase neighboring property values."

She sees the roundabout included in the project as a prime location for public art or other beautification efforts. Green noted that both water and electric lines will be run to this site in the event that either is needed for future development.

Financing for the Fountain Street extension project will come from a federal Community Development Block Grant, transportation enhancement funds from MoDOT and city transportation sales tax revenue.

Green said construction should begin early this summer. It is expected to take seven to eight months to complete the project.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

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