GULF SHORES – Design work on the Gulf Coast Center for Ecotourism and Sustainability is complete and Gulf Shores officials plan to go out for bids on the project by the end of the …
GULF SHORES – Design work on the Gulf Coast Center for Ecotourism and Sustainability is complete and Gulf Shores officials plan to go out for bids on the project by the end of the summer.
The Gulf Shores City Council was scheduled to vote Monday, July 11, on a contract for architectural work and construction phase services, such as administration, materials testing and special inspections, Dan Bond, environmental grants coordinator, said.
The new center will be a permanent facility on city-owned property next to the Gulf State Park. The facility will include environmental education classrooms and outdoor learning spaces, a teaching farm that includes organic gardening and greenhouses, learning laboratories, ropes courses and team building areas, interpretive nature trails and administrative offices, according to city reports.
At a council work session July 5, Bond said city officials are working with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to move forward with the project.
“The city was awarded $9.8 million in RESTORE funding to construct the Gulf Coast Center for Ecotourism and Sustainability facility,” Bond said. “Phase 1 of that project has been completed, which was design and engineering. We are ready to go into construction. We are working through the funding agreement with DCNR and we hope to have the project bid out before the end of the summer. This contract will hire architectural works for the construction phase services, professional services for the project.”
The city will pay $596,187 for the architectural services under the contract. All of the costs will be paid with funding from the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourism Opportunities and Revived Economies Act, known as RESTORE.
The federal RESTORE project distributes money from penalties received as part of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the Gulf Coast states affected by the disaster. The money is designated for environmental projects.
Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft said city officials have been working for about eight years to secure funding for municipal projects.
“This is another one of these RESTORE programs that we've been working on since 2014 that we're just now getting the money to start construction on,” Craft said. “About time, but glad to at least be this far and be ready to go because it'll be a really significant project.”