by Hunter Dawkins

After weeks of deliberation and assessments, the city of Long Beach finally awarded contracts for the damage from Hurricane Zeta back one month ago on Tuesday night; December 1, at city hall.

The Board of Aldermen unanimously approved awarding the contract for Program Management Services to Andercorp and the other for Engineering Services to Overstreet & Associates to begin harbor repairs/replacement.  These choices were selected from recommendation of an RFQ Selection Committee of four city officials.

Following these approvals, a lengthy discussion was presented about opening the east side of the harbor for fishermen.

“This will require a lot of action on our part for individuals to go out there and fish, I am openly concerned with their safety,” said Long Beach Mayor George Bass.  “If we opened up this part of the harbor, more guards would need to be available.”

After the statement by Mayor Bass, Long Beach Harbormaster Bill Angley gave a few public safety issues that were overwhelmingly concerning to the board on the status of the harbor.  Additionally, Long Beach Fire Chief and EOC Official Griff Skellie mentioned to the mayor and board that while walking the harbor recently, he felt the city would be “putting ourselves in a bad liability” if the harbor was opened.

With the consensus of the board, the city of Long Beach chose to keep the entire harbor closed until further notice.

In other actions, the Pickering Firm was awarded the preliminary engineering services contract for the Five Points Intersection Study.  With a receipt of a letter from Parrish’s Restaurant & Lounge, a request was made for allowing a rent deferral.  City Attorney Steve Simpson expressed the potential problem which may occur from rent deferral due to this being on public property whereas the board of aldermen tabled to allow research.

Finally, the city recognized Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Government Affairs Coordinator; Beau Gex, who mentioned that the hospital had recently applied for a $28 million grant for restoration funds to build a pediatric outpatient clinic and a certification to become a residency hospital.

Long Beach has a work session next Tuesday at 5pm in city hall followed by another board meeting the following week on the 15th.