Tonawanda News — While the Gratwick Riverside Marina has been trumpeted by city officials and residents as the start of a turnaround on the North Tonawanda waterfront, the $2 million project was also recognized Thursday by the American Public Works Association.
An award was presented to the city on Thursday by the group’s Western New York chapter, naming the two-year effort as Construction-Repair Project of the Year.
Michael Marino, project manager of Conestoga-Rovers & Associates who worked on the marina and submitted the city for the award, said it was the collaborative effort of city, state and federal resources, along with private contractors that may have given North Tonawanda the edge.
Marino, who grew up in the area, said he saw the project as a major impetus for the city’s plan to bring life to its waterfront and aggressively pursued the winning bid.
“This award promotes excellence in the management and administration of public works projects by recognizing the partnership between the managing agency and participating consultants and contractors,” said Daniel J. Selder, director of the association’s Western New York branch.
The project, overall, included the cooperation of the North Tonawanda engineering and and public works departments, along with Marino’s firm, the state department of environmental conservation, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and Carol Tallichet, who funded a large-scale overhaul of what is now the LumberJack’s Patio Grill, next to the marina.
“Everybody came to the table looking for ways to make the most of the grant money so it would go as far as possible,” he said. “Everybody who was tied to the project was excited.”
Mayor Rob Ortt said that the city bonded about 20 percent of the $2 million project total, admitting that the project would not have been possible with out the grant money. That scenario meant using city workers to conduct paving and other work in order to save on costs.
“Those are guys we’ve paid anyways,” he said. “And there’s no question we had a very collaborative effort from the beginning. That’s the only way this project would have happened.”
The city will also be automatically entered into the association’s New York state-level competition held later this year.