The selection committee responsible for recommending what firm should be selected for the upcoming downtown streetscaping project grilled three prospective candidates Tuesday morning, picking Kimley Horn as the frontrunner.
Kimley Horn is the same firm that designed Riverwalk, which weighed heavily in their favor.
“Their track record and relationship with the community and the city already speaks volumes,” said Bradenton Downtown Development board member Mike Carter. “They were very successful on Riverwalk. Are there things you can look back on and say you would do it differently? Yes, there are.”
Representatives of Kimley Horn addressed some of the ongoing landscaping issues on Riverwalk, but it was unknown at the time which areas of the linear park would get the kind of unwanted foot traffic it receives now. The company, as well as the selection city, saw it as a positive in some minor lessons learned that can be applied to the downtown project.
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We have one chance to get this right.
Jim McLellan, public works director
“We have to get this right,” said Jim McLellan, public works director and part of the selection committee. “We have one chance to get this right.”
Hoyt Architects was second in the ranking and CPH rounded out the only three candidates that responded to a request for qualifications. While the committee was impressed with all three firms, it was noted that Hoyt is more of an architectural firm, CPH is more of an engineering firm and CPH, “offers a blend of both,” McLellan said.
Realize Bradenton Director Johnette Isham worked closely with the firm on Riverwalk.
“Kimley Horn has delivered integrated public realm spaces and more than the first two groups, talked about public realm place making,” Isham said.
Kelly Ann Dixon said her research showed all three companies have solid reputations, but Kimley Horn, “have proven themselves in the downtown area.”
The committee’s recommendation will go before the city council Wednesday morning. If the council approves, the committee will begin negotiating with Kimley Horn, at which time, more information on potential costs of the project and scope of work will take shape.
The project boundaries, for now, are between 10th Street West to 13th Street West. North-south boundaries are from the Manatee River to as far south as Ninth Avenue West. Landscaping, improved lighting and pedestrian connectivity through the downtown to the Village of the Arts are some of the project goals.
Officials hope the project will coincide with at least five other major projects expected to start around the same time in and near downtown beginning this spring. They include the $17 million Spring Hill Suites by Marriott in the 100 block of Old Main Street; a $5 million renovation and expansion of the Twin Dolphin Marina; a $12 million expansion of the South Florida Museum; and an $8-$10 million parking garage on the corner of Third Avenue West and Old Main Street.