Mobilians and visitors alike will have to wait a little longer before exploring the wonders of the GulfQuest Maritime Museum it seems.
Although then-City Attorney Larry Wettermark said on Oct. 22 the museum would open in “two or three months,” GulfQuest now looks like it won’t open until sometime this summer, Mayor Sandy Stimpson said at today’s City Council meeting.
The opening date for the museum was originally pegged for July 2012. Subsequent target dates have been announced, but all have been moved back.
Stimpson said today he is determined GulfQuest would hit its newest opening date, one that would leave it essentially two years behind schedule.
“It is my understanding the estimated opening will be summer and the city will do every thing it can to fulfill that promise,” he said. “Right now there is a punch list of things that have not been done. However, there is not a contractor on site and the funds are expended. There is not a huge list of things to be done. It is on the edge of being completed.”
Stimpson said he is ready for the day when visitors and citizens can explore the GulfQuest Maritime Museum.
“I think it will be a huge step in the right direction when it is opened,” he said.
If for some reason the city will need to spend more money on the museum, there is a minuscule amount left in the coffers.
During the Oct. 22 council meeting, Wettermark stated there was about $25,000 left in a contingency fund, which started out at $1 million. The city has spent about $29 million in total on the museum.
Early on, the project also faced setbacks from site flooding and a previous mold problem. As recently August 2012, media was told the museum would open in Spring 2013.
On Jan. 29, 2013, Hoar Program Management Senior Project Manager James Adams delivered more bad news.
“I wanted to tell the council about this rather than you hear about it through the community,” Adams said on Jan. 29, 2013. “The beautiful weather we’ve been having created an opportunity here for us to develop mold. The temperature changes, rain, no rain and thunderstorms caused a small mold bloom.”
On the June 11, 2013, council agenda, two items for change orders with existing contracts requested a total of $967,811. The increase for both contracts is due to mold being discovered in the museum last January. The estimated opening time at that point was early 2014.
Calls to GulfQuest Executive Director Tony Zodrow were not returned before press time.