$927,740 contract awarded to Sarasota firm for construction of new restroom building at Nora Patterson Bay Island Park on Siesta Drive

Work expected to get underway this month, with completion anticipated in August, barring significant weather delays

This is a rendering of the restroom facility planned for Nora Patterson Bay Island Park, as presented to workshop participants in November 2020. Image courtesy Sarasota County

With a unanimous vote on Jan. 25, the Sarasota County Commission awarded a $927,740.50 contract to Stellar Development Inc. of Sarasota for the construction of a public restroom building within Nora Patterson Bay Island Park on the south side of Siesta Drive.

Along with the elevated restroom facility, which will include a ramp to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, the company will build sidewalks and install a gate at the entrance to the park, a Jan. 25 county staff memo explains.

Because of Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) specifications regarding building in a flood zone, the staff memo notes, the restroom structure must be elevated about 8 feet above grade.

Siebert Architects of Sarasota won a 2019 contract, in the amount of $142,628, to design the facility, as noted in the county staff memo.

A public workshop was held on Nov. 18, 2020, the memo adds, with Nicole Rissler, director of the county’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department (PRNR), presenting the renderings that Siebert Architects had provided.

This map shows the location of the county’s portion of the park and the area where the building will be constructed. Image courtesy Sarasota County

The members of the public who participated in the workshop “were generally in favor of moving forward with [the project],” the Jan. 25 staff memo points out.

Residents who live near the park had raised concerns about homeless people lingering there, Rissler acknowledged during the workshop. Staff would work with the Sarasota Police Department, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and the Homeless Outreach Teams of both departments in dealing with that issue, she added.

The section of the park on the north side of Siesta Drive is within the jurisdiction of the City of Sarasota.

In response to another question regarding people remaining in the park late at night, Rissler said, “I think [the installation of the gate] will significantly help with some of that after-hours use.”

At the time of that presentation, Rissler estimated the expense of the construction at $1.1 million.

Both North County Park Impact Fees and City of Sarasota Park Impact Fees — divided at $463,870.25 each — will cover the Stellar Development contract, the Jan. 25 staff memo says.

The work is expected to begin this month and, weather permitting, be “substantially complete” in August 2022, the memo notes. The latter phrase means “the project, or a portion of the project, is fit for its intended use,” an article by Duane Craig explains on the Jobsite website. “The owner can then occupy and use the property,” the article adds. “The owner must also pay the contractor the last portion of the monies owed for that project or portion of the project.”

Two other companies did bid on the county project. Conengineers Builders LLC of Weston submitted a price of $543,148.84, the relevant Procurement Department document shows. However, that firm did not comply with the county specification regarding its level of experience in such undertakings, the document says.

The other bid came from Boromei Construction Inc. of Okeechobee. It was for $942,775.30.

Picnic tables and benches afford views of the Intracoastal Waterway from Nora Patterson Bay Island Park. File photo

During the November 2020 public workshop, Rissler of PRNR explained that the county section of Nora Patterson Bay Island Park, which officially is located at 946 Siesta Drive, encompasses about 1.4 acres. It has a concrete bulkhead on two sides, with a variety of benches and parking spaces. Recreational fishing and enjoyment of the views of the Intracoastal Waterway are the primary reasons people visit the site, she added.

“This is a very popular park,” Rissler noted. Yet, only a portable toilet has been on-site to accommodate visitors. “A porta-potty is not our first choice in any of our parks,” she emphasized.

Rissler also noted that the new gate and the restrooms automatically would lock each day when the park closes. (The county webpage with details about the park and its amenities says the park is open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.)

The restroom contract was listed as a “Presentation Upon Request” on the Jan. 25 County Commission agenda, but none of the board members asked for staff comments, and no member of the public had signed up to address them.