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Road block for Venice's downtown project

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The City of Venice originally budgeted around $6 million-dollars for a project that would replace downtown streets and sidewalks. But, when the project went out to bid the lowest amount came back at over $10 million.

"They're a little higher than we'd like to see them. I think it's feasible, but we're going to have to look at what the needs are versus the wants," said City of Venice Engineer Kathleen Weeden.

Over the last few months more and more has been added to the scope of work, but money hasn't been.

"City Council asked us to look into what it would cost to upgrade all of the electrical in the median. That was not in the original budget estimate," said Weeden.

When you factor in all funding sources, the city's budget really stands at about $8.4 million-dollars. That's still over $2 million away from the lowest bid.

"$8.4 million is what we have between the two granting agencies, the one cent sales tax and the road bond," Weeden said.

If the project has to be re-bid to construction companies, that could take 40 days. That would throw off the projects very tight deadline of being complete before the end of this upcoming November.

"It is critical that in season business on the avenue are operational. Any delays like that would creep right in to next year's season," said business owner and Venice Main Street President Rod Nafziger.

The City Council will be presented with options in their next upcoming council meeting, a week from Tuesday. They could cut things from the project or increase it's funding.