City of Ashland sees familiar struggle with riverfront development costs

The city of Ashland, which sits along the Ohio River in northeastern Kentucky, is trying to trim the cost of a planned riverfront development project. 

Like Owensboro, Ashland received a federal earmark of transportation dollars secured by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell to reinvent its riverfront. 

And like Owensboro, a first round of bids for the project came in well over budget and left the city looking for ways to trim costs without harming the project;’s scope. 

Owensboro awarded the construction bid for its project last month to Hall Contracting and Richard Goettle Inc., a joint venture that agreed to build the city’s river wall for $37.6 million. 

That bid was negotiated after a first round of bids saw a low offer of $40.8 million for the project, which had been estimated earlier to only cost $30.7 million. The successful bid also includes the entension of the river wall to Mitch McConnell Plaza, an option not included in the city’s earlier estimate. 

The Owensboro City Commission has approved a plan for the city to borrow up to $4 million to supplement the $34.7 million it expects to receive from the feds for the project. 

In Ashland, the city is considering eliminating a small river wall and restroom facility from the project to try to fit its cost within its $9 million budget, according to an article this week by Carrie Stambaugh with The Daily Independent.

A first round of bids opened in August by the city of Ashland saw estimates of between $13.5 million and $17.5 million, and cutting those two portions could trim $4.5 million from the project’s expected cost, Stambaugh reports.

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