ANTIOCH -- Plans to build restrooms at the new city boat launch have been flushed, for now, because of miscommunication with the state over the use of grant funds.
The episode is prompting state officials to take a more thorough look at the criteria for doling out money for marina and waterway projects.
In March 2012, the city received $495,000 from the state's Division of Boating and Waterways to build a third boarding float and restrooms at the boat launch.
Antioch put the restrooms project, estimated to cost $370,000, out to bid in June. But the city abruptly stopped the process when the state's Department of Parks and Recreation terminated the grant, saying the Ramp Repair and Modification grant funds wouldn't be going where the law stipulates.
"It would appear that the criteria for the use of these emergency funds was not as precise or as clear as they should have been," Gloria Sandoval, a state parks spokeswoman, said.
Boating and waterways became a division of the state parks department on July 1.
The City Council officially rejected all project bids earlier this month.
Antioch originally called for bids on the restroom/bait shop project proposal in February, but rejected them after questions arose over the scope of the contractor and building suppliers' work.
It went out to bid again in the summer, with everything proceeding as normal. All project contract documents were presented to the state for review -- a condition of the grant agreement.
Upon further review of the plans in late July, the department found that designing a space for a bait shop did not meet the grant's criteria for low water ramp repairs or emergency ramp modifications, Sandoval said.
"As stewards of taxpayer dollars, (the department) corrected the mistake as soon as it found the error," she said.
Antioch will be reimbursed by the state for any lost money it spent on the project, Public Works Director Ron Bernal said. In the meantime, the current bathrooms about two blocks away at the Antioch Marina will remain open, he said.
The state advised Antioch to apply for a more appropriate grant for the bathroom funding, suggesting it look at a Local Assistance Boat Launching Facility grant being issued in April 2014.
The state's natural resources and parks departments plan to review the ramp repair grant program to ensure that funding is being used properly and make corrections or develop new program criteria where necessary, Sandoval said.
Meanwhile, plans to add the third boarding float are moving forward, Bernal said. Antioch received a $217,000 grant in June for that project, which includes adding handrails and replacing hinges if needed. There have been no issues to this point, Sandoval said.
The Delta city opened the $3.1 million ramp in April 2012, using boating and waterways grant money to pay for it.
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.