Bikers, walkers and even four-legged friends have taken a stroll underneath the pier pavilion on Shore Boulevard over the years. It's proven to be a spot for those seeking shade, watching the sunrise and waiting for storms heading toward Gulfport.
However, Mother Nature's wrath came just in time for city repairs. Gulfport city leaders had already approved $55,000 to replace the pavilion before high winds in March damaged it.
Officials met with the Historic Preservation Committee about the design of the replacement pavilion. The group told officials they would prefer something similar to the existing design. Sopak says to meet current building code and wind speeds for the area, the new pavilion would have to withstand 140 mph winds.
Because the old design was far from up to code, the new design will need a metal roof instead of just plywood.
Sopak says the old roof was made of two pieces of quarter inch plywood, glued together and formed into hoops.
The new structure needs a metal framing and metal curved roof system to meet current codes.
In July, officials put a call out for bid proposals. Four companies replied, however, the lowest bid is over budget by nearly $75,000.
Here are the following bids:
- Tisdale Construction, Inc: $194,800
- Caladesi Construction: $165,101
- Hodge Management: $129.847
- Eveland Brothers: $160,200
Sopak informed city leaders about the process at the Council Workshop on Thursday, August 16, adding that there are other options.
- Reconstruct the pavilion with the lowest bid by Hodge Management for $129,847
- Redesign the pavilion with a new configuration using a removable fabric system for about $50,000
- Demolish the concrete columns and wait on reconstruction
Sopak said if the city decided to use fabric as the roof, they could save the concrete columns standing now and come in under budget. The pros and cons of using the fabric, which is designed for outdoor use, include the lifespan, cost and aesthetic.
Sopak said the fabric might only last30 years, at which point, it would need to be replaced. Also, the fabric would have to be removed before any large weather events and it may not be as appealing as the pavilion that residents have grown accustomed to.
During the discussion, some members voiced that they wanted to keep the columns and wait for other options; others said they should demolish the columns and wait until the city has enough funds to build a new pavilion. One councilor proposed decreasing the size of the new design to save money.
"It's simply cost prohibited at this time, I believe removing it is in the best interest of safety," Mayor Mike Yakes said.
Councilor Jennifer Salmon was hesitant to remove the concrete columns right away and Dan Liedtke suggested cutting the design in half to save money.
"What if we went to about three hoops, there's still shade. I'm in favor of removing it and installing new columns, maybe at a reduced size," Liedtke said.
Councilor Banno said the unexpected prices in the bids would give leaders a chance to step back and really evaluate what they want in the current pavilion's place.
"It gives us an oppertunity to look at that area and figure out how we want to beautify it. I think it gives us a greater oppertunity to do something different down there," Banno said.
Following the Thursday meeting, Liedtke had some conceptual drawings done and submitted them to the city manager.
"I just want to keep it on the table and see what's going to happen," Liedtke said.
Liedtke says one of the designs is similar to a ramada, with a "metal roof and open underneath." That design is 20 feet by 40 feet and can fit about eight benches under it, Liedtke said. The current pavilion is 12 feet by 60 feet.
“I still think there’s some low cost alternatives that can fit in our budget,” Liedtke said.
Lietke says the pavilion is an amenity in Gulfport.
"We're in the process of doing a lot of beach improvements, so why not keep it going," he added.
For more information, check out Don Sopak's complete presentation included in the Aug. 16 Workshop Agenda packet online. The pier pavilion is item #8. Patch has included photos from the presentation attached to this story.