Jon F. Swift Inc. to oversee preconstruction phase of Legacy Trail extensions to Payne Park and North Port

County Commission approves $389,000 agreement

A graphic shows details about the extensions of The Legacy Trail. Image courtesy Sarasota County

With no fanfare this time, the Sarasota County Commission on Sept. 10 took another step in the creation of the North Extension and the North Port connection for The Legacy Trail.

As part of its Consent Agenda of routine business items that day, the board approved a $388,972 agreement with Jon F. Swift Inc. of Sarasota to serve as Construction Manager at Risk for the preconstruction phase of the work on the new Legacy Trail segments.

A Construction Manager at Risk process entails a commitment by a firm to deliver a project within a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP). The Construction Manager at Risk acts as a consultant in the design and construction phases, ensuring that the expenses go no higher than the GMP. Additionally, the Construction Manager at Risk oversees the work of contractors, though it may handle some of the work itself, depending upon its expertise.

For a number of years, the county has used the Construction Manager at Risk method to control the cost of major projects.

A Sept. 10 memo to the commissioners from Nicole Rissler, director of the county’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department (PRNR), and Carolyn Eastwood, director of the county’s Capital Works Division, pointed out that the Construction Manager at Risk process is expected to ensure “the fastest possible” timeline for completion of the new segments of the Trail.

A graphic explains how the Construction Manager at Risk process works. ‘RFQ’ stands for Request for Proposals. Image courtesy of the Campbell County, Wyoming, Government

An exhibit included with the agreement the commissioners approved on Sept. 10 calls for the preconstruction phase to be finished 340 days after the county purchase order was issued for Jon F. Swift to begin work. The final design of all the new Trail segments is anticipated to be completed within 180 calendar days of the issuance of the purchase order, the exhibit said.

On Nov. 6, 2018, county voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum allowing the county to issue up to $65 million in bonds to pay for the approximately 8-mile extension of The Legacy Trail to Payne Park in downtown Sarasota — including spurs — and through Venice to North Port. The latter segment, the Sept. 10 memo said, will cover about 4.5 miles, though the final route has yet to be decided.

The memo also pointed out that PRNR staff has been working with the City of North Port and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) “to develop an acceptable route for the North Port Connector.”

On April 10, the memo noted, the commission approved the issuance of $37 million in general obligation bonds for The Legacy Trail work.

Then, on April 23, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) agreed to assume responsibility for the design, construction and letting of the bids for pedestrian overpasses at both Clark Road and Bee Ridge Road, the memo pointed out. FDOT incorporated that decision into its updated work program in July, the memo said. “This outcome will allow the County to construct the entire Project at-grade and achieve best possible speed for producing a complete project,” the memo pointed out.

On June 26, the county closed on the Phase 2 segment of The Legacy Trail Extension, completing the purchase of the corridor from the Seminole Gulf Railway, the memo added. The county closed on the acquisition of Phase 1 on Dec. 20, 2017.

This is the reconstruction timeline exhibit in the agreement approved with Jon F. Swift. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Additionally, Rissler’s and Eastwood’s memo noted, after the November 2018 bond referendum was approved, planning activities for The Legacy Trail Extension also indicated the benefits of incorporating “several utility-based projects” into the extensions. Among those are construction of “a future potable water main, a reclaimed water pipeline extension, and the addition of fiber optic conduits and fiber, all of which are to be co-located with [The Legacy Trail Extension],” the memo noted. Each “will be entirely funded by existing Public Utilities Capital Improvement Projects, so that bond revenue may remain wholly dedicated to [The Legacy Trail initiative]. Efficiencies gained by co-location include more rapid project design and the ability to construct underground utility infrastructure before the trail itself is built,” the memo pointed out.

Altogether, six companies bid on the Construction Manager at Risk solicitation package, county Procurement Department records show. Among the others were Halfacre Construction of Sarasota and Ajax Building Corp. of Venice.

The other three firms were from Port Charlotte, Tampa and Punta Gorda, the Procurement document notes.

Only the Sarasota County companies were invited to make presentations to a county Professional Services Review Committee, according to Procurement documents.