City Mgm't Tells Mayor/Council Two "Critical" Queen Mary Maintenance Issues Will Cost Approx. $7 Million With No Current Funds To Pay For Them; They're Among 8 Of 27 Repair Items Promised But Not Completed With Council's $23 Mil "Historic Preservation & Capital Investment Plan" (2016)

  • And newly discovered issue surfaces: crack found in at least one wharf piling, report pending on all pilings and related structures, repair cost not yet known
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    (Sept. 23, 2019, 9:45 p.m.) -- City management has informed the Mayor/Council that despite a 2016 city management recommended/City Council-approved "Historic Preservation & Capital Investment Plan" that cost $23 million (reserves + debt bonds to be repaid by rent revenue/passenger fees from Carnival Cruise lines) to address 27 Queen Mary maintenance issues, 8 issues remain to be addressed without a current funding source and at least two of them are "critical" with a "preliminary" estimated cost of $7 million.

    In addition, the Sept. 23, 2019 memo from Director of Economic Development John Keisler to Acting City Manager Tom Modica for the Mayor/Council reveals that a new issue has recently surfaced that may prove critical or urgent: a crack has been discovered in one of the wharf pilings. Management's memo indicates the City has funded an inspection of the conditions of all pilings and related structures for which a report is anticipated in the next several weeks (there's no currently estimated cost to address the issue yet.)

    Management considers QM maintenance issues "urgent" that "need to be addressed but do not impact the immediate safety or structural integrity of the Queen Mary and that the City's inspecting engineer recommends being addressed within the next three to five years." It considers QM maintenance issues "critical" when they "have the greatest impact on the integrity and long-term preservation of the Queen Mary."

    Management's memo says the City's inspecting engineer recommends that the City and Lessee [Urban Commons] prioritize two critical issues within the next 12-24 months:

    [Scroll down for further.]

    • Lifeboat Removal: approx. $2.3 million
      The 22 lifeboats suspended from davits-small pairs of cranes-above the Promenade Deck are affected by rot and corrosion in several areas. The main keels-the centerline at the bottom of the lifeboat-of most of the lifeboats are rusted through, the wood interiors/uppers have rotted, and the hooks that suspend the lifeboats from the davits are rusting, as are the davits themselves, which support the approximately 10,000- to 12,000- pound lifeboats. The vessels may ultimately be at risk of falling from the ship or breaking apart in place. In June 2018, Lifeboat No. 19, on the starboard side, was determined to be structurally unsound. A support was installed by the Lessee to protect against keel failure and render the area safe, although the City's inspecting engineer has noted this may not guarantee that other portions of the boat will stay together. While the operator identifies funding, they will continue to monitor the lifeboats and will reinforce the structures as needed.

    • Side Shell and Bridge Wings: approx. $4.7 million
      The side shell is a portion of outer steel on the Promenade Deck level below the window line. The side shell steel also connects to the davits that support and distribute the weight of the 22 lifeboats. The side shell, along with the bridge wings - two small steel cantilevered structures extending from either side of the bridge - are corroded and deteriorated. Some aesthetic repairs made to the side shell in 2017, in anticipation of future repair or replacement, have begun to fail and are being removed by the Lessee. Access to the bridge wings has been closed for two years.



    Management's memo didn't include an estimate of the costs of the "urgent" repairs that were supposed to be completed under the management recommended/Council-approved $23 mil 2016 "maintenance" plan. (For these items, it simply indicates "pending bids and identified funding source.")

    City management's memo stated: "Although a funding source is yet to be identified, City staff have encouraged the Lessee to begin the process of project scoping and collecting estimated construction costs," It adds "City staff will work with the Lessee and its third-party structural engineer to prepare a plan for completing the remaining Critical Projects within the recommended two-year period. This plan, currently under development by the Lessee, will include strategies, costs, and timing for replacing the lifeboats and repairing the side shell of the ship in a historically appropriate way."


    So who'll pay for this? City management's memo states:

    Although an additional study is underway to identify the most cost-effective approach to this work, the preliminary budget for both Critical Projects is estimated to be $7 million. This total estimated amount includes approximately $700,000 for the removal and proper disposal of the lifeboats, $4 7 million for the side shell repair and replacement drainage system, and $1.6 million for renting a specialized crane. Under the lease, critical ship repairs are the responsibility of [lessee] Urban Commons. Although budget has yet to be identified, staff is working with the Lessee to improve operational income and to develop new revenue streams associated with the Queen Mary and surrounding activities. City staff hope to receive from Urban Commons an update on this plan by the end of the year.



    Management's memo concludes: "Staff will continue to meet with the Lessee monthly to inspect maintenance, review construction plans, identify funding sources, and provide approvals as needed. Additionally, staff will continue to meet with the City Auditor on a quarterly basis to provide status reports on key elements of the Agreement."

    Consistent with previous city staff reports on Queen Mary maintenance issues, the latest memo doesn't identify exactly who (by name) at LB City Hall knew or should have known about Queen Mary maintenance issues as they mounted over a period spanning multiple years. .

    The City of LB's longest citywide officeholding-elected official is City Auditor Laura Doud, elected in 2006.




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