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Latest Pine Avenue bid rejected

ANNA MARIA – Following Mayor Dan Murphy’s recom­mendation, the city commission rejected the latest Reimagining Pine Avenue bid received from C-Squared.

On May 9, the commission voted 5-0 in favor of rejecting C-Squared’s approximately $1.4 million bid to construct a one-block Reimagining Pine Avenue prototype area that was to include new brick paver sidewalks along both sides of the Pine Avenue from Gulf Drive to North Shore Drive, and new crosswalks in that same one-block area. The sidewalks and crosswalks were to be funded by a state appropriation previously ap­proved by the Florida Legislature.

Using a different funding source, the city also planned to install new streetlights in the one-block area that would serve as a test area for similar safety improvements to be made later along the rest of Pine Avenue.

The latest rejected bid marks the fourth time since 2022 that the city commission has rejected a project-related bid from C-Squared. The previous three bids received in 2022 and 2023 were for the entire stretch of Pine Avenue. In all four instances, C-Squared was the only construction company to submit a bid proposal in response to the city’s request for proposals (RFP).

Murphy said he didn’t consider the latest C-Squared bid received in April to be a “good value proposition.” During a previous discussion, Murphy noted that C-Squared previously bid $1.4 million to install sidewalks and crosswalks along the entire stretch of Pine Avenue.

On May 9, Murphy said he met with a C-Squared representative in hopes of lowering the latest bid. The company offered to reduce the bid by $56,000.

The mayor now proposes taking a piecemeal approach for three separate but related projects, starting with sidewalks, then crosswalks and then streetlights.

“I’d like to put a focus on local contractors who can do this work,” Murphy told the commission. “There are a couple that are interested already who’d like to look at this more on a micro basis than a macro basis.”

When asked if another RFP, or multiple RFPs, would be issued for the separate projects, Murphy said he didn’t know yet.

Commissioner Jon Crane again suggested seeking input from potentially interested contrac­tors before drafting and issuing another RFP.

Commissioner Gary McMullen asked if the city’s public works department could carry out some of the project-related tasks. Mur­phy said that’s possible as long as the department has the needed manpower and equipment.

Related coverage: Reimagining Pine Avenue bid higher than expected

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