Volume 11, Issue 9- Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

Ports of entry in the United States will hold an abundance of contracting opportunities in 2019. That's because the needs are great and these border crossings are receiving lots of scrutiny. 

Long neglected, the country's border crossings now face a $4 billion deficit for much-needed improvements. That trend should be turning significantly though and the border regions are soon to become a lucrative emerging marketplace. The tide has shifted and it appears that border crossing needs will finally be addressed. 

Border infrastructure projects are already in the works for California and Texas, while bipartisan border infrastructure legislation is gaining some traction in Congress. Private-sector investors have announced interest in collaborative projects where appropriate. 

Currently, $2 billion in economic activity comes through the U.S.-Mexico border land ports of entry every single day. The older facilities cannot handle the current traffic flow and there are extremely long wait times that cost the U.S. economy millions of dollars. Officials say that inadequate funding for more inspectors, technology and infrastructure repair have directly resulted in making border crossings the preferred point through which smugglers attempt to traffic drugs. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency reports that nearly 90 percent of drug seizures, including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl, are entering the country through official border crossings. 

Earlier this year, the Trump administration requested $675 million for non-intrusive inspection technology for contraband detection at land ports of entry throughout the Southwest. Despite the prolonged standoff over funding for border security in the form of a wall, there is bipartisan support for investing in new technology and new infrastructure at ports of entry. 

Bipartisan legislation was filed recently for an assessment of needs. The North American Development Bank Improvement Act of 2019 would open up new funding opportunities for border infrastructure projects by relaxing project qualifications that in the past have blocked funding for some projects.

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Virginia- After three years of research, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), in partnership with the city of Norfolk, has reached a milestone in the Coastal Storm Risk Management study. The project moves onto the next phase with the approval and signature of Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite, chief of engineers and commanding general of the USACE. Officials are recommending a $1.4 billion project. It will include four storm surge barriers, nearly eight miles of floodwall, one mile of levee, 11 tide gates and seven pump and power stations. 

Four areas across the city were seen as the most vulnerable: Ghent-Downtown-Harbor Park along the Elizabeth River, Ocean View near Pretty Lake, the area surrounding the Lafayette River as well as Broad Creek near the Elizabeth River. The report will undergo further review by the office of the assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works and office of Management and Budget before its formal submittal to Congress. Congress won't make a decision until at least 2020, but in the meantime engineers can begin the design phase. This phase typically lasts up to three years.
Photo courtesy: Century2.org_ Century II
Kansas- The city of Wichita has plans to release a request for proposals (RFP) for site selection and design work for a new performing arts facility. After a year of work, a citizens advisory committee presented its findings to Wichita city leaders. The committee proposed that rather than renovating the existing Century II center, a new one should be constructed. This would allow the area theatre, symphony and opera to continue operations seamlessly. 

The city-appointed committee recommended releasing the RFP and a 2020 referendum to secure the $175 million estimated for construction of a new performing arts center. Wichita's mayor stated that cost estimates for renovations of Century II will need to be completed before further action is taken.
Michigan- Renovations on Western Michigan University's Dunbar Hall is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2020. An evaluation of the building was conducted a few years ago and concluded that the building's systems were past its life expectancy and that the building was no longer configured in a way that accommodates instruction today or in the near future. Dunbar Hall was built in 1971. The facility was added to the Capital Outlay list for construction projects. 

The $40 million project was approved by the state and the university is currently focusing on the design phase. In the next couple months, university officials will go through the selection process for an outside architecture and engineering firm. The construction of Dunbar Hall has an expected completion date of fall 2022. While an interior renovation is needed at this point, this can change during the process if something is identified that wasn't found during the inspection.
New Mexico- New Mexico lawmakers from the House of Representatives have approved a bill, House Bill 286, that would allow partnerships in which private entities can bid to help finance and build government-owned facilities. More than 35 states already allow this type of public-private partnership (P3) opportunity. The bill would allow any government agency in the state to enter into a long-term agreement with a private entity to finance and build road and broadband infrastructure. The bill would set up the partnerships under the New Mexico Finance Authority and help bankroll them. 

The bill states that private groups wanting to bid for jobs in New Mexico must provide a cost-benefit analysis, a budget proposal and take part in public hearings to solicit feedback from community members affected by the projects. To qualify, a project must take at least five years to complete. Though the bill has no appropriation, its fiscal impact report states that the Legislative Finance Committee recommends setting aside $40 million for a startup fund. The new public-private setup would not include the building of toll roads.
Texas- Dallas County residents will vote on a $1.1 billion bond program for the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) in the upcoming election on May 4. The construction of an education and innovation hub is one of the priorities that will be funded by the bond. A new Dallas Education and Innovation Hub planned for construction in downtown Dallas will serve the entire county. The hub will include a Business Training Center, as well as a redesigned El Centro College. 

The bond program was recommended by DCCCD Chancellor Joe May and authorized by the board of trustees during the board's regular monthly meeting in February. The bond program will not increase property taxes.
Idaho- Canyon County will ask residents on May 21 for a $187 million bond to build a new jail. If approved, the bond would fund construction on a 1,044-bed jail on county-owned property on Pond Lane, off Highway 20/26 near Caldwell. 

The county is also preparing to install steel trailers in the current jail parking lot, blocks from downtown Caldwell, to house female inmates and free up space in the main jail facility. This project, meant as a temporary solution, will cost the county $4.5 million for the first year alone. The jail has been considered inadequate for at least 15 years. The bond needs a two-thirds majority to pass. Canyon County taxpayers have denied the county's last three bond attempts for a new jail.

California- The Fresno Yosemite International Airport has been approved for a $35 million loan from the California State Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank) to finance a three-level structure that will have 900 covered parking spaces. The IBank finances public infrastructure and private development that promotes economic development and improves quality of life in California communities. 

Plans are to build the parking garage on the site of the current 300-space, long-term parking lot across from the airport terminal. That project is expected to be finished by late 2022. The parking projects are part of a plan that will include a $70 million terminal expansion, adding two more gates.
Missouri State Penitentiary
Missouri- The Missouri State Penitentiary Community Partners is developing a request for qualifications for redevelopment of a parcel in Jefferson City that it hopes to send out in the coming months. The city took possession of 32 acres of an old prison site neighboring frequently toured historic penitentiary buildings. City leaders are asking developers to consider a hotel and convention center for the property. 

The project is part of a larger effort to attract tourists to the community with other potential improvements including a riverfront access bridge, an entertainment complex and enhancing local parks.
New Mexico- The city of Roswell is considering issuing a request for proposals (RFP) for developing a piece of city property. A 2.95 acre parcel that was the site of the recently demolished Yucca Recreation Center will be the focus of the city's Infrastructure Committee. 

The city's community development director drafted a plan for 18-20 units of multifamily townhouses for the property with each unit being around 2,000 square feet or smaller. Tenants would be required to report verifiable low to moderate income. Alternatively, a city park is also under consideration for the site. Roswell officials will explore the RFP process once a decision for the development is made.
Arizona- The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a design concept report and environmental study on a potential widening of Interstate 10. The Maricopa Association of Governments, the Gila River Indian Community and ADOT are collaborating to potentially improve and add a lane in each direction of I-10 for 23 miles between Phoenix and Casa Grande. 

The Maricopa Association of Governments has allocated roughly $65.5 million toward improvements on the I-10 project, with $5.9 million of it in the ADOT study. The study will launch later this year with an 18-month timeline and the study will help determine when construction would begin as well as establish a timetable.  
West Virginia- The House of Delegates this week accepted a Senate amendment to House Bill 3140 that would require the Division of Natural Resources (DNR) to complete a feasibility study on building a lodge at Beech Fork State Park. The bill permits the DNR director to authorize repairs, renovation and rehabilitation for existing facilities, buildings, amenities and infrastructure. A report on the feasibility study would be due to the Joint Committee of Government and Finance by Dec. 1. 

Per the amendment, the director must convene two public hearings by Oct. 1. The first hearing will seek input regarding options for construction of a lodge and conference center, including all available public, private or public-private partnership (P3) funding and financing options. The second public hearing should be on the feasibility study, and any recommendations will be available for public comment. The amended bill was passed unanimously by the House and now heads to the governor for signature. The bill will be effective from passage.  
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Georgia- The city of Sandy Springs has adopted a new master plan calling for $105 million of upgrades by 2027. The plan includes new parks, dog parks, a community center and a swimming complex. The plan will require 437 acres in the next decade and the city plans to satisfy this need by buying new property to keep a range of park sizes and trails. The cost of the plan is projected at $90 million for new parks and trails and $14.5 million for existing park improvements. 

The short-term projects that are expected to begin over the next 10 years include: purchasing new park property, expanding Allen Road Park, developing connectivity to neighboring cities, building a natatorium/community center at the north end of the city, constructing a cultural center in the Sandy Springs area and making improvements to Heritage Sandy Springs and Morgan Falls ballfields. The natatorium/community center project is projected to be the costliest of the projects and the city will potentially develop a public-private partnership to build and operate the facility.  
Maryland- Garrett County Chamber of Commerce recently heard the findings and recommendations of the Chamber of Commerce's Strategic Initiatives Task Force. The task force established the following goals to identify opportunities and eliminate barriers to future growth of the community: 

- To identify public-private partnership (P3) models to cultivate development. 
- Through a hub-and-spoke model, connect and amplify regional development groups to share ideas and leverage resources. 
- Conduct a strengths, opportunities, weakness and threats analysis. 
- Coordinate inter-city visits to similar communities to learn from their successes. 

After meeting with stakeholders across the county, the task force filtered over 200 recommendations down to five main initiatives for the future of the area. The Garrett County Commissioners unveiled the following initiatives:
- Create a county-wide long-term vision plan for growth that includes measurable goals and benchmarks. Members noted the plan must include the creation of a P3 that will implement the plan and that the county commissioners appoint a leader to develop that plan.
- Intensify and support advocacy efforts for state and federal funding of broadband development in the county. 
- Expand tax increment financing. 
- The chamber should form an exploratory committee to consider a referendum by the 2020 election on Garrett County home rule and expanding the board of county commissioners to five individuals by adding two at-large commissioners with staggered terms. 
- Conduct a study on housing in Garrett County to consider affordability, the availability of subsidized housing, market rate availability, an inventory of long-term rentals of single-family homes, existing and future needs and recommendations for funding and incentivizing housing development.  
Virginia- The Prince William Board of County Supervisors is considering four options for the future of the Pfitzner Stadium site. The stadium complex is the former home of the Potomac Nationals minor league baseball team that is relocating to a new $35 million stadium in Fredericksburg. The stadium is slated to open its gates in spring 2020, but the team's current lease in Prince William will continue through 2019. 

The 7-acre stadium is nearing the end of its useful life and the 65-acre property owned by the county is ripe for redevelopment. A new stadium and athletic facility could be funded by a proposed county bond referendum this fall, or private investment through a public-private partnership (P3). Ideas pitched to the county include a mixed-use development with retail, housing and dining; an indoor baseball and softball complex; a new stadium and playground with space to host festivals throughout the year; or the re-platting of the property to allow for commercial development. Interest has been expressed in the development and management of facilities by P3s. The county is accepting unsolicited proposals for the stadium site.  
Ohio- A parking study has determined that downtown Tiffin needs a new parking garage at the corner of Madison and Jefferson streets. The Downtown Tiffin Parking Committee released a report that finds parking is not always convenient and available for residents, business owners and visitors. The yearlong study shows that most of the public parking falls outside of the core downtown area and is underutilized, so it suggests consideration should be given to finding more convenient locations.  

The parking study shows that the pace of development activity in downtown Tiffin suggests there is an opportunity to promote a mixed-use project with integrated parking to satisfy on-site parking as well as providing additional convenient parking for the surrounding downtown district. The study states that a publicly funded and operated parking structure is very challenging to develop and it is recommended that a privately developed mixed-use project with integrated parking be pursued.     
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Oklahoma- A law passed by the Oklahoma Legislature last year requires the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) to hire a private company to conduct eligibility verification for the state's Medicaid program. The Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services, on behalf of the OHCA, has issued a request for proposals for vendors to help implement the requirements of the HOPE Act (Restore Hope, Opportunity and Prosperity for Everyone). 

The new law requires that the OHCA hire one or more private vendors to verify information about people applying for or already receiving benefits from the state's Medicaid program, SoonerCare, to ensure they are eligible under the program's requirements. Proposals are due by April 22, a contract is scheduled to be awarded July 24 and the plan is to be implemented Aug. 1.
Maine- Maine is withdrawing a contract with a firm it had signed on to track the growth and distribution of marijuana and marijuana products in the state. State officials had signed a deal with a Florida-based firm that would have allowed the state to use a software product that uses radio-frequency identification tags to track marijuana. 

The state Office of Marijuana Policy says it's concerned that the contract could draw a challenge that results in a delay of recreational marijuana sales, which voters chose to legalize in 2016. Maine officials will instead seek competitive bids for tracking services by releasing a request for proposals (RFP), which has not yet been developed. 
Tennessee- Germantown city officials, developers and members of Germantown County Club have expressed interest in purchasing 180-acres of land on the recently shuttered golf club. The country club could be maintained as a golf facility, turned into a park or developed for residential use. A request for proposals for the golf club property will soon be issued by the parks and recreation commission through a real estate broker. The plan is to have a contract on the property by the end of April or beginning of May. 

Country club owners announced the closure at the beginning of the year in a letter to members, saying the trustee overseeing the golf club recommended shuttering the property for financial reasons. A final decision on whom the property will be sold to will eventually be made by the trustee. A request for proposals for the golf club property will soon be issued by the trustee through a real estate broker. Interested parties can fill out and return the proposal, which will be evaluated by the trustee who hopes to have a contract on the property by the end of April or beginning of May. Commissioners voted to direct the mayor and board of aldermen to take necessary and appropriate actions to acquire the property for public use. It also voted to ask the board to work with the commission to ensure any future development on the land aligns with the city's parks and recreation master plan. Germantown city staff have requested an appraisal of the property, which is the next step in the municipality's discussion of whether to buy it.
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Washington, D.C.- Andrew Wheeler has been chosen to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Wheeler was confirmed as deputy administrator last April and became acting chief in July after then former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned. He worked at the EPA early in his career and was a top aide at the Senate Environment Committee before becoming a lobbyist a decade ago. 
Ohio- Christina Muryn was selected to serve as the mayor of Findlay. She will serve the remainder of former Mayor Lydia Mihalik's term, which runs through the end of 2019. Mihalik was appointed by Gov. Mike DeWine to serve as the director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. Muryn is the director of business and physician development for a pain management services firm. 
Kentucky- Robert. L. "Bob" Jackson was voted in as the new president of Murray State University. Jackson was voted in as interim president in August of 2018 after Murray State University officials announced president Bob Davies resigned effective Sept. 1. Jackson served Murray State in several other areas over the last decade, including as co-chair of the University's 2015-22 Strategic Plan, and assumed the role of president of the Murray State University Foundation in 2013. Georgia- Leslie Manahan has been appointed police chief of the Valdosta Police Department. Effective March 1, Manahan became the police chief and replaces former police chief Brian Childress. She has been the interim chief since Childress stepped down Sept. 1, 2018. In 2013, Manahan was appointed commander of the Investigations Bureau. Manahan has nearly 22 years of law-enforcement experience, all of which has been spent in Valdosta. 
Pennsylvania- Roger Davis has been named the next president of the Community College of Beaver County. He came to the college as executive vice president and provost on July 18, 2016. The appointment is effective immediately. Davis has held the position on an interim basis since May. Davis succeeds Chris Reber, who left last year to become president of Hudson County Community College in Jersey City, N.J. 
Connecticut- Erin Wilson, Torrington's economic development director, is leaving for a similar position in Hartford. Wilson starts her new position March 11. Her last day in Torrington is March 7. Prior to working in Torrington, she was the assistant town planner in Windsor. Wilson also previously worked for the town of Ellington and in a private sector position for a planning and engineering consulting firm based in Cheshire. 
Illinois- Rocky Donahue, who has been acting as interim executive director of Pace Suburban Bus since December 2018, assumed the role permanently on March 1. Thomas "T.J." Ross, who had served as head of the Pace suburban bus agency for 20 years, retired at the end of November. Donahue formerly served as the Pace deputy executive director before taking on the role as interim executive director. 
Florida- Judge Nicole P. Menz took the oath of office as the new Indian River County judge. Retired County Judge Joe Wild administered the oath of office to his successor. Menz was elected to the bench in November. After spending nearly nine years as assistant state attorney in Vero Beach, Menz entered private practice law. She practiced in the areas of family law, dependency, adoption and criminal defense. 
Ohio- Ferzan M. Ahmed has been appointed as the new executive director for the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commision. He succeeded Randy Cole, who departed the turnpike in January to become executive vice president for a blockchain startup after serving as the toll road's executive director since December 2014. Ahmed previously served as the Ohio Department of Transportation's deputy director for its District 6 in central Ohio from 2011 until 2016. 
Washington State- Sam Gibboney was selected in January as the new executive director for the Port of Olympia. The former director, Ed Galligan, resigned in spring 2018 after a dozen years at the helm. Gibboney comes to the port from the Port of Port Townsend where she was executive director for two and a half years. Before that she worked for San Juan County in a variety of roles, including as its director of community development. Her first day on the job was Jan. 18. Florida- Tracy Upchurch, a current Flagler College professor and former mayor of St. Augustine, has been named the mayor of St. Augustine for a second time. He served as the mayor of the city of St. Augustine from 1990-1992. Commissioners unanimously chose him to replace Nancy Shaver out of a list of roughly 20 candidates. Shaver resigned on Feb. 28 due to health issues. Upchurch is expected to be sworn in this week. He'll complete Shaver's term of office, which ends on Dec. 7, 2020. 
Oregon- Dan Crutchfield, the battalion chief of the Coos Bay Fire Department, will take over the job on March 15. Interim Fire Chief Richard Curtis has led the department since September following the retirement of former Fire Chief Ted Ames. Crutchfield began his firefighting career as a volunteer and has spent almost 26 years with the Coos Bay Fire Department.
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