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Clayton fires dock project engineers

TIMES STAFF WRITER
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CLAYTON — Clayton officials have decided to part ways with their general consultant for a $2.3 million dock project planned on the edge of the former Frink America property.

“This is the only way we can move forward,” said Roland A. “Bud” Baril, chairman of the Clayton Local Development Corp., the project's lead agency.

Everything seemed to be going well at first, officials said, until CLDC's consultant, Applied Technology Management Inc., submitted designs that would push the construction project over its $2,373,000 budget by nearly $500,000.

W. Samuel Phlegar III — president of the Charleston, S.C.-based international coastal, environmental, marine and water resources engineering firm — declined to comment, saying he had not yet been notified and was unaware that Clayton was about to end its relationship with Applied Technology.

Local officials said Clayton's attorney sent out a written notification to the firm Wednesday.

Town Supervisor Justin A. Taylor said engineers were asked to redesign the project to keep the work at or under budget, but the consulting firm failed to do so.

Project engineers came back with a revised plan that shaved $200,000 off their previous designs, but their proposal was still over budget by $300,000, Mr. Taylor said.

LDC members said project engineers also failed to alert Clayton officials beforehand of possible project cost increases, even though Clayton's contract with Applied Technology required engineers to notify local officials of any major concerns during the design phase.

Mr. Taylor said that Clayton would retain designs and layouts submitted by Applied Technology and that the project will be handed over to the town's engineer with St. Lawrence Engineering, Clayton.

Officials hope to move forward with this federally funded project “as soon as possible,” he said.

Clayton secured a $1.1 million federal matching grant in 2010 to make the waterfront village more attractive to recreational boaters in transit by building public docks.

With federal funds and revenue from the sale of the former Frink America snowplow factory site, Clayton plans to build 52 slips for transient boats between the east side of Frink and Washington Island, a boaters' amenity building and a wave attenuator.

The St. Lawrence riverfront Frink property is on the northeast end of the village peninsula and is the site of the Buffalo-based Krog Corp. and Hart Hotels' $22.5 million 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel, which is scheduled to open next summer.

Clayton sold 7.04 acres of the 8.4-acre site to the hotel developers, Clayton Harbor Hotel LLC, earlier this year for $2.1 million, but the waterfront and riverwalk remain public domain.

To keep the construction project within budget, Clayton plans to seek bids for the project in multiple phases and require contractors to submit a number of alternatives using different specifications.

“We want to have the greatest flexibility possible when the time comes to make a decision,” Mr. Taylor said.

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