City of Dubuque News Release

City Council Asked to Delay Chaplain Schmitt Island Veterans Memorial Project 

Kevin Lynch, Schmitt Island Task Force, 563.582.2655

Aug. 16, 2019 -- For Immediate Release

DUBUQUE, Iowa – City of Dubuque staff are recommending City Council reject the bids received for the Chaplain Schmitt Island Veterans Memorial Project so the project can be rebid to stay within the established project budget after design changes are made.  The process will delay the project which was initially estimated to be completed in July 2019.

If the City Council approves the request at their Monday, Aug. 19, meeting, City staff will work with the project’s advisory committee, partners, and design consultants to develop alternatives to create cost savings so the project can be rebid later this year to meet its $2.511 million budget.  The lowest of three bids received for the project was more than 27 percent over the architect’s estimate.  The City project is funded by the Dubuque Racing Association (DRA) and was developed by the Chaplain Schmitt Island Project Advisory Committee.  

“This temporary delay is disappointing, but I am confident we will be back on track very soon,” said Kevin Lynch, chairperson of the Schmitt Island Task Force.  “The DRA and Schmitt Island Task Force are totally committed to seeing that our veterans get the honor they deserve.  I wish to thank all those who have devoted their time and talents to making this project a reality.  We will get it done.”

The proposed improvements for the memorial include several amenities to honor all veterans, Chaplain Schmitt, and improve the overall experience. The proposed improvements include enhancing the Veterans Memorial Plaza by improving the edge of the pond with a pathway, seating, and expanded plaza space for additional memorials and veterans’ tributes. A gateway sign is proposed to be installed where Admiral Sheehy Drive intersects E. 16th Street along with clean-up of the pond edge to enhance views. The proposed Chaplain Schmitt Island Memorial itself is composed of a spiral decorative concrete path that transforms into an elevated boardwalk that extends from the Veteran’s Memorial Plaza over the pond. Located at the end of the boardwalk is a circular landing that contains a 24-foot high, stainless-steel structure/sculpture titled “Skyward.”  The design also includes colorful nighttime lighting to honor veterans and add prominence to the memorial.  The proposed improved and expanded Veterans Memorial Plaza is intended to facilitate formal and informal gatherings, ceremonies, and contemplation. Additionally, project includes the relocation of the Tri-State Vietnam Veterans Memorial, currently located by Miller Riverview Park, to the new Veterans Memorial Plaza.

If City Council approves the request to reject the bids, City of Dubuque Leisure Services and Engineering staff, along with the consultant team will value engineer the design and create alternatives that produce cost-saving measures. Any changes or alternatives will be reviewed and approved by the Chaplain Schmitt Project Advisory Committee before the project is rebid.

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Please do not reply to this message.  If you would like additional information on this issue, please contact the staff person identified at the top of the message or contact the City of Dubuque Public Information Office at or 563.589.4151.

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