A Baltimore-based company is one of the leading contenders to help Ocean City rebuild its famous but deteriorating boardwalk.

The Louis J. Grasmick Lumber Co. of Baltimore submitted the "apparent low bid" to supply lumber for the first phase of the two-year project, said Terry McGean, city engineer of the resort town. Grasmick was one of 18 companies competing to supply the yellow pine decking needed for the work, and its base offer of $602,250 for 56,040 pieces of lumber was below the city's estimate of nearly $621,000, McGean said. Bids were opened Tuesday.

The project sparked controversy last year when Town Council members indicated they might consider replacing part of the three-mile-long wooden boardwalk with a concrete center lane for trams that would last longer and have lower maintenance costs. Leaders eventually decided on an all-wood deck and a concrete substructure.

McGean said the town received 35 bids for five construction packages in addition to the bids for supplying lumber. He said officials are reviewing them to select contractors in time for work on the first phase, which will start this fall.

Grasmick has supplied lumber for boardwalk repair projects in Ocean City for 13 of the past 15 years, said Kirk Hammonds, executive vice president. It also has worked on other boardwalk projects for communities such as Rehoboth Beach, Del., and Chesapeake Beach, Hammonds said.

The Ocean City project will be carried out in two phases. The first will cover reconstruction of the boardwalk between the inlet on the south side of town and Somerset Street and from 15th to 27th streets. That work is scheduled to occur beginning Oct. 3 and last until April 2012. The second phase, covering the stretch from Somerset to 15th streets, is expected to begin after the 2012 summer season. The town has not requested bids for the second phase.

ed.gunts@baltsun.com

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