2013-08-08 / News

Architect chosen for new clubhouse

By Margo Sullivan

Burgin Lambert Architects will design the new golf-course building, the Town Council decided on Monday.

The Newport firm was the unanimous choice of the subcommittee charged with reviewing the proposals, according to a memo signed by Town Planner Lisa Bryer, Town Engineer Michael Gray and Recreation Director Bill Piva.

Councilor Mary Meagher also served on the subcommittee.

“Burgin Lambert has not only extensive experience in the design of municipal facilities, including some important ones in Jamestown, but also in clubs and kitchen facilities,” the memo said.

In the firm’s proposal, the subcontractor Gardner Gerrish of Cranston will be used. The landscape architecture company specializes in golf courses. That was just one reason the subcommittee recommended Burgin Lambert.

“They brought both familiarity with the project and community and a thoughtful open mindedness to their approach,” the memo said.

The design will require two phases. The cost for the first phase includes preliminary design, planning and a series of public meetings. The firm will be billed at an hourly rate not to exceed $24,000. The rate hourly was not disclosed.

The price for the rest of the job – which will result in a “complete bid set for advertising and construction” – is unknown. Meagher said it will be developed based on meetings with the councilors and public.

Bryer said the primary use of the building is for the golf course, and the basic plan will focus on the design for the clubhouse and restaurant. The public will have some say in plans for the use of the second floor, she said.

Jamestown received four proposals for the contract, which was advertised in the Providence Journal. The other candidates were Blount Bennett Architects of East Providence, JGA Architectural Design of Pawtucket, and Northeast Collaborative Architects of Newport.

In other business, the council awarded the $87,400 contract to replace the roof on the recreation center to NAPCO Inc. on Gray’s recommendation. The company was the “lowest responsive bidder,” he said. No information was provided about other applicants for the job.

Also, the $2.75 million bond sale to pay for the landfill closure and refinance old debt was successfully completed on July 31, according to Town Administrator Bruce Keiser. The town issued bonds for $1 million to pay for the landfill closure, which is expected to be finished in December. The other $1.75 million was to refinance older bonds and take advantage of better interest rates.

The offering attracted eight bidders, and the low bid was very favorable, Keiser said.

“The successful bid yielded an interest rate on the bonds of 1.762 percent, a rate unprecedented in the town’s borrowing history,” he said.

According to Keiser, the usual rate is around 3 percent. Keiser said the town hoped to break that level, but he never expected to go below 2 percent.

“It’s a huge shot in the arm for the community,” he said.

Keiser credited favorable conditions in the tax-exempt bond market and the town’s strong financial rating for the financial coup.

Prior to the sale, Keiser, along with Finance Director Tina Collins and bond counsel David Ferrara of PDM Financial Services, consulted with Moody’s Investor Services about the community’s credit rating.

Moody’s Investor Services continued Jamestown’s Aa2 rating, which “reflects the town’s solid financial position and healthy reserves, a sizable and wealthy residential tax base, and a low debt burden,” the report stated.

They did discuss upgrading the rating to Aa1, Keiser said, but the town did not qualify for the higher credit standing due to a dearth of commercial and industrial property in the tax base.

However, the Aa2 rating did not appear to hurt Jamestown per the interest rate, Collins pointed out. She said it’s better to be a strong Aa2 than a weak Aa1 and avoid the risk of being downgraded.

In other news, revenue from beach parking and beach stickers is running behind last year’s receipts, at $22,350 down from $32,156. Keiser speculated the reason may be due to the 7.5 inch- es of rain that fell in June.

“We have to reconcile those numbers for stickers,” he said. “That number seems a little fuzzy at this point.”

However, the Fort Getty campground receipts have been strong. He predicted the final numbers will stand within $1,000 of where the town expected them to be.

According to Keiser, the decision to “shrink the campground” did not hurt the town financially.

In other business, Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero attended the state Department of Business Regulation hearing last Friday on a winery license for Jamestown Vineyards on Beavertail Road.

He communicated the “town’s concerns per zoning controls and things of that sort,” he said. He anticipates the board will take 20 to 30 days to make a decision on the license.

Councilor Eugene Mihaly and several residents also attended, he said.

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