Orange Beach's new office for the Coastal Resources Department will be at the old Walker Marina boat basin.

By John Mullen

January 23, 2020 – Orange Beach, AL – (OBA®) – Dirt is turning on the east bank of the boat basin at the former Walker Marina on Terry Cove as work begins on Orange Beach’s new Coastal Resources building.

“They’re prepping it for the seawall, docks, piers and boathouse,” Coastal Resources Manager Phillip West said. “All that rip rap has to come out where the seawall is going. The building will be right up against that so we needed that room as well.”

The logo of the City of Orange Beach, Alabama.West spoke about his department’s new digs after the Jan. 21 dual regular session and work session. During the meeting, one of his beach ambassadors, Marjan Verschraegen, received a $1,000 donation from the city to help pay for her two weeks aboard a sailboat studying plastics in the world’s ocean.

West said building construction could start as early as Jan. 29 and he hopes the contractor can beat the schedule agreed on with the city.

“The building construction starts in the middle of the week next week so we’ll be seeing the pilings probably first for the structure to go,” West said on Jan. 21. “Then the framing so it’s starting. They have by contract 270 days to complete the building. I hope it doesn’t take nearly that long but these builders, all these guys have multiple projects going right now so you never know.”

He said it will depend on how much the weather cooperates, finding enough labor and other facts to determine if the project can beat that 270-day deadline.

“It’s like they get to a point where they dry it in and they’ve got to go dry another one in. I’m sure the process will ebb and flow throughout the year,” West said. “I hope in six months we can move in but they’ve got more than that just in case.”

The building will be directly east of the Pleasure Island Tiki Bar at Sportsman Marina and is budgeted at $1.1 million.

Verschraegen is part of a two-year project called eXXpedition that circumnavigates the globe with an all-women crew studying the impacts of microplastics in the ocean water. She was one of 300 out of 10,000 that applied for 30 two-weeks tours.

The women have to pay their own transportation and expenses so she has to raise about $6,500. The Orange Beach contribution puts over $4,000 and West said he was planning to seek contributions from other local governments to help put her over the top.

Verschraegen’s two weeks on the sailboat will be the 11th leg in May and will sail from Tonga to Fiji.

During the regular meeting, the council:

  • OK’d a contract to construct a turn lane east coming out of Lauder Lane to John G. Walton Construction Company for about $40,000.
  • Passed a resolution to pay for a Festival of Art billboard with the Lamar Company for $8,800.
  • Passed a resolution to execute a change order with Asphalt Services for site work on Walker Avenue for the new Coastal Resources Center building for about $35,000.
  • Passed a resolution executing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Baldwin County Commission, the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office, and the Baldwin County Board of Education for school resource officers.
  • Passed a resolution authorizing the purchase of a UTV for the Fire Department for about $15,000.
  • Honored court magistrate Renee Gardener for her 30 years of service to the city.
  • OK’d applications for liquor licenses for Pour at The Wharf and Southern Grind coffee shop also at The Wharf.

During the work session, the council discussed:

  • Awarding the bid for four UTVs for the Fire Department.
  • Awarding the bid for three submersible jet aerators for the Utilities Department.
  • A resolution authorizing the execution of a task order with The Appraisal & Consultant Group, Inc. for an appraisal a potential land acquisition project for $5,000.
  • A resolution authorizing TTL to provide geotechnical engineering services at Orange Beach Middle/High School site for about $31,000.
  • A resolution authorizing the purchase of a vehicle for the Community Development Department for $27,948.
  • An ordinance establishing the use of electronic vote counting devices for use in all municipal elections.
  • Setting public hearing dates for the Ocean Edge 14-home development on the beach near Tallulah’s, an ordinance to change rules for metal siding for mini-warehouses and the JG Concepts vehicle showroom on Canal Road west of the Meat Mart.