Camden Select Board news...

Camden to contract with South Portland firm to manage Snow Bowl lodge and base area

Ragged Mountain Redevelopment update...
Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:00pm

    CAMDEN — Following Camden Town Manager Patricia Finnigan's update on the Ragged Mountain Redevelopment project, the Camden Select Board approved contracting with Ledgewood Construction to perform as construction manager for the Snow Bowl's lodge and site improvements.

    Ledgewood, of South Portland, was one of 12 firms that submitted bids for construction management services. The others were Albertson Builders & Service (Rockport), Allied Cook (Portland), Dunbar & Brawn (Bangor), Ganneston Construction (Augusta), HE Callahan (Auburn), HP Cummings (Winthrop), Langford and Low (Portland), Bruce Laukka Inc. (West Rockport), Nickerson & O'Day (Brewer), Sheridan Corporation (Fairfield) and The Penobscot Company (Rockport).

    The South Portland firm was unanimously recommended by the selection team responsible for reviewing the proposals. The proposal was bid as two-phase construction management, with the first phase being "preconstruction" and the second "construction." Ledgewood's fee for preconstruction management is $5,000, and that includes managing the planning, cost estimating and final design phase. The fee for construction management is a percentage based on the guaranteed maximum price of the project. In this case, the town has a building budget of $2 million, excluding site work. So at Ledgewood's proposal of 4 percent, it would be $80,000.

    One of the major roles of the construction manager during the construction phase is to ensure the project is constructed on time and within budget, according to the selection team's recommendation notes distributed to the board.

    The Snow Bowl is undergoing a $6.5 million redevelopment project on the 231-acre Ragged Mountain parcel. Funding to pay for the project is comprised of a $2 million bond, approved by voters last fall, and $4.5 million in private donations. The project had been in the planning and fundraising phases since 2008, and then work got underway on the last day of the 2014 ski season – March 24.

    Ragged Mountain Recreation Area Update

    Tuesday night, Finnigan told the Select Board that following tree clearing work earlier in the spring, Royal Mountain Trail Works is now on site and moving along at a good clip.

    The town has been working under the watchful eye of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection since June 30, after insufficient or ineffective erosion controls during the spring logging operation allowed silt and mud to enter and foul Hosmer Pond during two heavy rains on June 13 and overnight 25/26. The town proactively notified DEP after both incidents, but Hosmer Pond neighbors also made calls to the DEP seeking relief and mitigation.

    "The last time we met, you were able to get a sense from Tom Wells of Royal Trail Works about the work that was to be done on the mountain, and job number one was to deal with erosion control and I would have to say that anyone who has been out there can see evidence of the quality of work Royal Trail Works performs," said Finnigan.

    She said that the DEP had been on site July 15 to see what the staff had done for erosion control and they also wanted to see what Royal Trail Works does in terms of constructing water bars. She said the DEP also wanted to ensure that the work Royal was doing was covered over at the end of each day.

    "I have to say the DEP was very pleased with what they saw," said Finnigan. "They thought that the quality of work was very good."

    Finnigan said that visit included another trip, on foot, to the top of Ragged Mountain to view the work, and since it was a foggy and wet day, it provided a good "snapshot" of what the mountain looks like during wet conditions.

    She then reminded the board that overnight July 15 brought 4 inches of rain, more than each of the two rains in June, after which Hosmer Pond turned brown from runoff. She also said that no pond residents called to complain about the water's quality or appearance after the July 15 rain.

    "That's not a measurement I would use [for erosion success or failure], but I would say that of the erosion measures put into the place, the turbidity curtain definitely worked, in terms of being able to capture any silt that would have been potentially going in to the pond. More importantly, the check dams, the drainage ditches, and most of the water bars worked," said Finnigan.

    She said that the other major work being done is the trail work, with the access road being the next project. The access road will be both for the short and long term, with the former allowing lift and snowmaking construction equipment a way to get up the mountain and the latter providing a way up for ongoing maintenance and repairs.

    Finnigan said that more than half of the access road was already complete; adding that material to build the road is being repurposed from the mountain.

    "There is ledge on the mountain that needs to be blasted to build trails and erect towers and that is being done in a limited way and the rocks are being used for the access road," said Finnigan. "This is a construction area and we prefer people to not be on the mountain when people are there working."

    She said that a special kind of stump grinder is slated to be used on the mountain for any more tree removal, which will allow trees to be taken down and mulched in place.

    In addition, lighting is being reviewed to address both safety and to provide as little neighbor intrusion as possible. And while work is underway further preparing the mountain, the lift equipment itself is being worked on. That includes non-destructive testing of all chairlift clips, grips and chairs, among other components involved with getting skiers and snowboarders up the mountain safely.

    Lastly, Finnigan said that welders are on site building the new snowmaking equipment, which will eventually include 10,000-feet of pipe that will run up the mountain.

    "We are all sad about what happened to Hosmer Pond and we are doing all we can to prevent it again," said Finnigan. "But last week, after the rain, I learned that the town had to post notices of high bacteria counts at Barrett's Cove and Shirttail Point, but not at Hosmer."

    Snow Bowl Lodge Construction Manager

    The town of Camden this summer sought bids for construction manager for the Snow Bowl lodge and the base area site/infrastructure improvements, including the parking lot, traffic circulation, lighting, storm water, etc. A selection team was appointed and included Peter Gross (chairman), Patricia Finnigan (Camden Town Manager) Rick Knowlton (Ragged Mountain Redevelopment Committee), Stephen Blatt (the lodge architect), Will Gartley (the site engineer) and Landon Fake (Snow Bowl General Manager).

    Knowlton explained the process and results to the Select Board Tuesday night, saying that the 12 bidders were whittled to six. Those six were invited in to be interviewed and they also toured the site with the selection team.

    "They presented well and each brought different strengths," said Knowlton. In the end, Ledgewood, which he said specializes solely in construction management, was selected unanimously by the team.

    "They have an onside supervisor throughout the project and the firm works on the frontend to be able to do value engineering, which is to do what we want but to seek savings while doing it," said Knowlton.

    He told the board Tuesday night that the decision was a very important one and that using a construction manager is not the normal municipal process, but is one that is becoming more prevalent for municipalities. He said this construction manager assumes as part of their responsibility a guaranteed maximum price, and then works with the client, in this case the town, to keep it on target.

    "They are both construction manager and project manager. They will hire the subcontractors, they work with the local contractors and suppliers to get the work done and at the guaranteed price," said Knowlton. "It's the typical way of working, but not typical for municipalities. We don't have time to renegotiate things because we find a component is beyond our budget."

    When asked by Select Board member Jim Heard if Ledgewood had worked with the architect before, he said yes, they had. He said it was also one of the considerations during the bidding process.

    Knowlton said the final floor plan of the lodge is a moving target, and that the final look of the roof, aesthetically, is also being discussed and worked out.

    "We told them we have a budget, the question is how much can we get for that budget," said Knowlton.

    Select Board member John French asked if Ledgewood would "respect the municipal bidding process."

    "Yes, we have assurance they will," said Knowlton. "And the owner has full access to say you need to solicit these local vendors as well."

    Knowlton added that Ledgewood was in favor of working with local vendors and suppliers, which he said was a talented group.

    "They are not just pulling plumbers up from Portland to do the work," said Knowlton.

    Selection team chairman Peter Gross told the board that he was very impressed with Ledgewood as well.

    "We look forward to working with them, and we need to get moving," said Gross.

    The vote to approve contracting with Ledgewood was unanimous.

    Related stories:

    Camden Snow Bowl project remains under DEP scrutiny, making progress, more work ahead (posted July 11)

    Vermont trail builder takes helm with Camden Snow Bowl project, new phase gets under way (posted July 10)

    Camden Snow Bowl prepped for more rain, assembling working group to assist with next steps (posted July 2)

       DEP likely to issue violation, require restoration plan
    Snow Bowl mountain mud runoff causes headache for neighbors, town (posted July 1)

    Editorial Director Holly S. Edwards can be reached at or 706-6655.