Ephraim Seeks Firms for Streetscape Rebuild

The Village of Ephraim approved a request for proposal (RFP) to be sent to five engineering firms for design work on all village projects associated with the highway reconstruction, including utility line burial, sidewalks, street lighting and stormwater abatement.

The village hopes the proposals will help determine true cost of each individual project.

Ken Nelson is the chair of the streetscape subcommittee, which drafted the RFP approved by the village board on Dec. 12.

“Now we’re going to have some better design which means better cost so then the village will have the info they need to determine if this is good or not good,” said Nelson, who worked professionally as an engineering consultant for nearly 40 years.

The five firms will return a description of their scope of work and qualifications by Jan. 5. The village will then decide who will do the work.

Nelson said the RFP is being sent out under a qualification-based selection process, not as a bid, meaning the village will negotiate cost with the firm after they determine who will best be able to complete the work.

“You’re best going with qualification-based because, to me, the most important thing is that we get the right team,” said Nelson. “The problem with the bidding process is you’re stuck with the low bid.”

The subcommittee, which met Dec. 8 and 12, hoped the RFP would be a way to push the board along on some decisions related to the project.

“This helps the board,” said Tim Nelson, subcommittee and village board member. “This pushes us along.”

“That’s what I would like to do is push the board to make some decisions,” said Cindy Nelson, subcommittee and village board member.

So far, the board has only made a decision on stormwater abatement and a sidewalk between the beach and old fire station. The village is waiting on better cost estimates for street lighting and utility line burial before moving forward with those projects. The RFP and associated engineering by the selected firm will help nail down those costs.

The project will be split up into two parts. Stormwater abatement, which will require work on the highway, will take place before or concurrent with the Department of Transportation highway reconstruction in 2019. Sidewalk and potentially street lighting and utility line burial will be let for bid in 2020 with construction to take place in 2021.

In choosing the scope of projects complementary to the highway resurfacing, the village board will consider the impact of another construction season on local businesses.

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