RC fuel dock hits another obstacle

ROGERS CITY – After much planning and a year-long delay, Rogers City has hit another snag in its plan to install a floating fuel dock at its marina.

Roger Wenzel said he originally believed the new dock would be compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. That turned out to be wrong, and he’s seeking price estimates for two different ways to make it so. The city is paying for the dock using two different grants, at least one of which requires any project it funds to be ADA-compliant.

“That’s where it is right now. We’re waiting for that quote to get back,” he said.

The city originally was set to receive a Department of Natural Resources Waterways grant to buy the ramp in 2013. That was put on hold when the state enacted an emergency dredging plan to deal with record-low water levels in Lakes Huron and Michigan in 2012 and 2013.

With a bid for nearly $55,000 in hand along with permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the accessibility issue should be the last hurdle, City Manager Joe Hefele said. Along with the DNR, the city should receive a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant as well.

“There’s a lot of players at stake here, that’s why we had to make sure we’ve satisfied all of them before we go through with this,” he said.

The plan originally called for bridging a gap between the new fuel dock and existing boat dock with a connector plate, allowing anyone in a wheelchair to use the ramp to the boat dock to access both docks. But the ramp is too steep, even with an extra 28 inches of water over last year’s low water mark.

Hefele told city council members Tuesday that the Department of Natural Resources wouldn’t budge on the issue, and Wenzel said Thursday that the grant is written for an ADA-compliant project. City council already has authorized the signing of the contract as long as every requirement has been met.

Wenzel said he’s looking at two possible solutions and seeking bids from Flotation Docking Systems, the same company that submitted a winning bid for the new fuel dock. He’s hoping to have bids before a harbor advisory committee meeting set for Tuesday at 8 a.m. in city hall, 193 E. Michigan Ave.

With little extra money to cover additional expenses, Wenzel said he’s hoping the city can afford the extra ramp. The new fuel dock would be a good addition to the marina.

“It would be a nice safety factor for the dock hands, because I know they’re all getting older,” he said. “It would be great to have and would be nice for boaters, too.”

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jt_alpenanews. Read his blog, A Snowball’s Chance, at www.thealpenanews.com.