Request for Proposals

Master Plan for Chaplain Schmitt Island

Planning Services

Dubuque, IA

Posted: 01/29/2013
Submittal Deadline: 03/01/2013



Dubuque is located on the Mississippi River in northeastern Iowa, adjacent to Illinois and Wisconsin. As Iowa’s oldest city, Dubuque is well known for its historic and architectural beauty. It is approximately 30 square miles in area, with a population of nearly 60,000 persons. The annual operating and capital budget is over $181 million and funds a full range of services.

The community has a stable and diversified manufacturing base and a growing service sector. Dubuque is the major retail, medical, education and employment center for the tri-state area. Tourism continues to be a major economic force in the community. City government works in collaboration with the private and non-profit sectors to promote economic development and sustainability. Downtown, neighborhood, and riverfront planning and revitalization are long-standing priorities of the City Council, as is Sustainability.


Originally called Ham's Island and later City Island, the area was considered an industrial location according to the 1936 Dubuque Comprehensive Plan. In 1933 under the Civil Works Administration, workers cleared and graded City Island for a seasonal airport. The City Island airport operated from 1934 to 1948, when the Dubuque Regional Airport opened south of town.

Relocation, widening and deepening of the Lake Peosta channel in conjunction with building Kerper Boulevard Industrial Park beginning in the late 1950’s.The island was also used as the city's landfill until 1976 when the Dubuque Metropolitan Landfill west of the city opened. Wetlands were filled and sand dredged from the channel was used to cover the refuse.

In 1980, the City Council renamed City Island in memory of Chaplain Aloysius Schmitt. Over the next 30 years, the island was redeveloped with major commercial and recreational venues.

Today, Chaplain Schmitt Island includes several restricted use areas. The Heron Pond Wetlands were built as mitigation for the U.S. 61/151 freeway construction over the Peosta Channel and Kerper Boulevard. Other wetlands exist on the island. The island’s bike/hike trail and boat ramp were built with state grants and the McAleece Sports Complex was built with a federal grant that all required perpetual easements for recreational use. The majority of the island lies in the 100-year flood plain; portions lie in the 500-year flood plain. Much of the land is leased. The island is zoned and used for commercial and recreational uses. Access is limited to the 16th Street bridge to/from the rest of Dubuque and the U.S. 61/151 Bridge to/from Wisconsin.


To simplify the review process and obtain the maximum comparability, the proposal must include the following information and be organized in the following manner. Proposals must be limited to 15 pages, exclusive of front and back covers (optional), transmittal letter, references, certificate of insurance, and fees and compensation. Do not include marketing materials.

Letter of Transmittal
Provide a letter of transmittal briefly outlining the consultant's understanding of the work and the name, address, telephone, cell and fax numbers, and email address of the primary contact person.

Profile of Firm
Provide general information about the firm and its area of expertise as regards this RFP, including the qualifications of the project manager and other key personnel to be assigned to the project. The City expects the project team to provide expertise relative to the Chaplain Schmitt Island Master Plan process, including the following areas:

• Planning / Urban Design / Zoning
• Existing and Future Land Use Analysis
• Floodplain Development / Hydrology /Hydraulics
• Wetland Mitigation / Redevelopment
• Federal & State Environmental, Floodplain & Wetland Regulations
• Economic Feasibility & Market Analysis
• Project Financing & Real Estate Development
• Site Development Standards & Design Guidelines
• Sustainable / Low Impact Development / Redevelopment
• Transportation / Traffic Engineering Analysis
• Consensus Building / Public Relations /Community Engagement

Proposal Qualifications
• List the names of the anticipated project manager and other key personnel associated with the project and their qualifications and experience.

• Describe the experience of the firm in performing similar projects for cities comparable to Dubuque; ideally, cities that serve as regional market centers. Include at least 3 client references with similar riverfront projects that have been completed in the past 5 years. For example, projects on major rivers like the Mississippi, with similar environmental aspects of wetlands and floodplains, and working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. List the names of the key personnel proposed for the Dubuque project who worked on the referenced projects.

• Describe the name and location of other sub-consulting firm(s) that would be used by the firm in the project and the approximate percentage of the work that would be performed by each of these firm(s). Include the experience and qualifications of the sub-consultant firm and its key personnel in working on similar projects, and indicate which ones would be working on the Dubuque project.

• Discuss the firm’s ability to integrate this project into the firm’s present workload.

Scope of Services
Describe the means or strategy by which the consultant would satisfy the following scope of services, and/or an alternative or hybrid strategy recommended by the consultant – what process and outcomes the consultant would suggest to make the master plan a reality. Any strategy must embrace and support the Sustainable Dubuque Plan and principles.

1. Assessment
Assess existing conditions and identify barriers and opportunities related to the redevelopment opportunities for the Island and environs; at a minimum, include:

• Analyze general physical conditions, existing land use and zoning of the island and environs.
• Explore relationship with the Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project, the Historic Millwork District, and the Port of Dubuque in terms of connections and design standards.
• Consider restricted use easements and environmental factors that impact development and redevelopment of the island, including soil conditions, flood plains and wetlands, and Section 4f and 6f parkland.
• Review existing roadway, transit, parking, and pedestrian circulation systems of the island and environs in light of recent traffic study prepared for 16th Street redevelopment site.
• Evaluate trails as part of the transportation system.
• Highlight major building and site development and redevelopment constraints and opportunities.

2. Redevelopment Evaluation
Identify barriers and opportunities related to the redevelopment opportunities for the Island, the environs, and the community; at a minimum, include:

• Evaluate feasibility, costs and identify potential sites for relocation for commercial and/or entertainment redevelopment of the following areas on the island:

• Wetlands (mitigation at 3:1 ratio)
• Flood plains
• Water Sports Club & University of Dubuque lease areas
• McAleece Sports Complex
• Gateways to / from Iowa & Wisconsin
• Greyhound race track and kennels
• Relocation of beaver(s) from island
• Detention ponds remain or become ponds / landscape features
• LWCF Grant restricted areas (see map)

• Evaluate feasibility, costs and identify potential sites for relocation for commercial and/or entertainment redevelopment of the Peosta Channel as:

• dredged waterway
• smaller/narrower waterway
• land bridge to Kerper Boulevard for a second access to the city
• filled in for additional development

• Evaluate planning and input process for memorial places: Chaplain Schmitt Memorial, Tri-State Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and Veteran’s Memorials

• Evaluate transportation, traffic circulation, and parking impacts with commercial and/or entertainment redevelopment options above in the context of “Complete Streets” and context sensitive design, and identify:

• Access improvements, including additional island access
• Parking options, including shared parking and shuttles
• Improvements for multimodal circulation

2. Economic Feasibility and Market Study
Assess the real estate dynamics and identify barriers and opportunities related to market opportunities for the Island; at a minimum, include:

• Document existing physical and market conditions.
• Quantify market demand for optimum land uses on Chaplain Schmitt Island.
• Identify opportunities for existing businesses and other targeted development opportunities.
• Assess financial feasibility of market demand, land uses, development opportunities and provide economic modeling for each item.
• Identify the cost of public and private infrastructure improvements needed and a schedule for implementation of said improvements.
• Identify the financial feasibility of leasing and shared ownership opportunities to leverage financing for development.
• Identify potential developers and assess developer interest.
• Create projections for economic development and develop recommendations for mixed use development size, amenities, occupancy mix (include retail) and phasing.

3. Financing
Identify barriers and opportunities related to financial needs for the Island; at a minimum, include:

• Identify local lending markets and climate for Chaplain Schmitt Island.
• Identify financial incentives available for development, infrastructure and public improvements including an assessment of funding interest.
• Identify any gap financing needed based upon ability to cash flow development.
• Identify opportunities for local, state, regional and federal public/private partnerships.

5. Community Engagement
Identify the recommended community engagement process related to the master plan for the Island; at a minimum, include:

• Engage businesses, leaseholders, non-profits, and property owners, the community, key stakeholders, decision makers and partners in an open, transparent planning process.
• Recommend a role for the project steering committee to create consensus building, community engagement and a public relations process for education, outreach, and input.
• Evaluate the possible use of a Technical Advisory Committee with representatives from key state and federal regulatory / technical assistance agencies, such as Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT), Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), US Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish & Wildlife Service, US Environmental Protection Agency, and National Park Service.
• How and when to obtain input from the DRA Board of Directors
• How and when to obtain input and approval from the City Manager and the City Council.

6. Chaplain Schmitt Island Master Plan
Prepare the master plan for Chaplain Schmitt Island; at a minimum, include:

• Unified implementation strategy with master plan elements.
• Cross reference with Downtown Master Plan, Historic Millwork Master Plan, and Port of Dubuque Master Plan.
• Urban design vocabulary with preferred uses, architectural, streetscape and landscape design guidelines.
• “Complete Streets” concept plans with transportation, traffic circulation, shuttle and parking options.
• Concept plans and cost estimates for utilities and infrastructure related to implementation of the Chaplain Schmitt Island Master Plan.
• Concept plans for land uses.
• Concept plans and cost estimates for buildings.

7. Recommend Action Plan
Prepare the action plan for implementation; at a minimum, include:

• Identify and prioritize next steps
• Identify financing incentives, strategies and tools
• Identify strategies to attract development
• Develop a market strategy to attract and grow the support that will be critical for the success of the Historic Millwork District
• Propose a plan for marketing to strategic public and private partners

8. Deliverables: Hard Copy and in Digital Formats
• Economic Feasibility and Market Study, including economic models
• List of potential Financial Incentives and Opportunities, including contacts
• Master Plan
• Site Development Plan, including bird’s eye view perspective
• Development Guidelines & Standards

Proposed Project Schedule
Provide a project schedule outlining the time period and estimated completion date of the proposed scope of work. This should include a schedule for and description of all deliverable products throughout the period. Products should be delivered in hardcopy and electronic formats compatible with the City’s computer software and hardware.

Provide at least three references of clients for whom the consultant has completed similar riverfront projects (as noted earlier) within the past five years with full name, title, address, email, phone, and fax numbers.

Certificate of Insurance
The selected firm will be required to meet the City’s insurance requirements for professional services (see attached Insurance Schedule C).

Fees and Compensation
Provide a proposed cost plus expenses budget for completion of the proposed scope of services with cost breakdowns by scope element. Quotation of fees and compensation shall remain firm for a period of at least 90 days from the submission deadline. Please separate the proposed budget from the other portion of the RFP submittal. Initial screening will be done without knowing the consultant's proposed fee for services.