Crossroads seeks bids for Evaluation of NJ Revolutionary War Sites

Request for Proposals 

for a Site Readiness Evaluation 

of New Jersey’s Revolutionary War Sites

Questions and answers from February 19, 2019 Bidders Conference and up to February 26 deadline available here:Bidders-Meeting-QA

Revisions to RFP available here: RFP revisions

The nation’s upcoming 250th birthday celebration on July 4, 2026 offers New Jersey a unique opportunity to raise awareness of its seminal role in the War for Independence. Preparation for New Jersey’s statewide, multi-year, semiquincentennial efforts will be coordinated by a public-private partnership between the New Jersey Historical Commission (NJHC) and the Crossroads of the American Revolution Association (Crossroads Association), the not-for-profit organization managing the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area (CARNHA). Principals of the public-private partnership between NJHC and Crossroads Association (Partnership) have agreed that the not-for-profit will oversee the work described herein.

In preparation for welcoming visitors, Crossroads Association seeks proposals to prepare a Visitor Readiness Report offering assessments and cost estimates for improvements to Revolutionary War sites statewide, as well as recommendations for development of a New Jersey Revolutionary War Visitor Center(s), to be considered in a subsequent feasibility study, leading up to the 250th anniversary. The anticipated state commemoration will start in 2024 and continue through 2033.

Background

From the heights of the Palisades at Fort Lee to the shores of the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield, the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area offers an unprecedented opportunity to explore the impact of the American Revolution. General George Washington spent more than one-quarter of his time as Commander-in-Chief in New Jersey, establishing dozens of headquarters here during the war, when more than 6,000 instances of armed combat were recorded.

CARNHA is dedicated to connecting the people and places of New Jersey’s rich Revolutionary heritage to inspire community pride, stewardship and civic engagement. The federally designated heritage area encompasses approximately 2,155 square miles in New Jersey, including 212 municipalities in 14 counties. While federal matching funds are designated only within those boundaries, Crossroads Association works with partners throughout the entire state to tell the story of the American Revolution.

CARNHA is one of 49 National Heritage Areas (NHAs) across the country and is the only heritage area dedicated to telling the story of the American Revolution. Morristown National Historical Park is its main National Park Service partner. We also work with hundreds of state and local historic sites, preservation groups, historical societies, friends groups, state, county and local governments, schools, libraries and museums to tell the story of New Jersey’s significant contributions to our nation’s founding.

Crossroads Association professional staff works with a Board of Trustees comprised of business leaders, history enthusiasts and environmentalists. Together, they are committed to capitalizing on the state’s complex Revolutionary history to promote heritage tourism, history-based education and local pride.

Crossroads and New Jersey’s 250th commemoration of the American Revolution

Crossroads Association has been designated as the New Jersey Historical Commission’s not-for-profit partner in the public-private partnership to plan the state’s 250th commemoration. The Partnership seeks to prepare the state’s Revolutionary heritage sites for an influx of visitors during the anniversary years of the Revolution in New Jersey, potentially ranging from 2024 to 2033. Interpretation at these sites will tell the stories of battles and skirmishes as well as the impact of the war on the daily lives of average New Jerseyans of all social, economic and racial backgrounds.

New Jersey’s Revolutionary heritage sites range from state-managed battlefields to locally-owned and operated structures in various degrees of repair and readiness to receive visitors. Some are fully equipped to welcome visitors daily, while others are seldom open and need major repairs or alterations in order to offer basic services to multiple visitors at one time.

Bidders are advised to review the following documents for additional information on New Jersey’s Revolutionary heritage sites.

Scope of Services

Crossroads Association seeks a qualified third-party consultant to research and provide reports on the needs of Revolutionary heritage sites, to include recommendations and cost estimates.

The consultant will also make recommendations on suggested sites for statewide Revolutionary War heritage visitor center(s) to be constructed in advance of the 250th celebrations, with a targeted opening date in 2025. These sites will be addressed in a subsequent feasibility study outside the scope of this RFP.

The selected firm will work directly with the Crossroads Association executive director and staff on accomplishing this task. The Partnership will provide the following information, as available:

  • Roster of sites to be assessed, with contact information for site management. We anticipate that the list will include all state-owned Revolutionary-era sites, National Historic Landmark Revolutionary-era sites in New Jersey, as well as other relevant sites nearby. Roster will be organized geographically, noting sites within proximity to each other, to ensure efficiency in planning visits. We anticipate that this will include approximately 140 sites, statewide.
  • Existing information on state-owned sites, to include planning documents, as well as existing information provided by county, municipal and privately-owned sites across New Jersey.

Prior to the start of the project, the Partnership will inform historic site management about the assessment process, purpose, and successful bidder.

In its proposal, the successful bidder will outline the proposed approach to the project, including a description of the recommended process for visiting, assessing and making recommendations for a single site. The successful bidder will include an explanation of how it will provide reports, including the following:

  • A list of recommended improvements, organized by site, along with cost estimates. Consultant will supplement the list with visual aids (digital photos and plan schematics, etc.) illustrating site conditions and recommended improvements.
  • Prioritization of sites and capital needs, ranked from most critically-needed to least, based on criteria agreed upon with Crossroads Association. This will include both physical structure needs and an assessment of the site’s interpretive capacity.
  • Recommendations provided by the consultant will include but not be limited to:
    • Possible placement of wayfinding and contextual signage;
    • Upgrade or replacement of infrastructure related to such visitor needs as parking, restroom facilities, access to public transportation, etc.;
    • Site-specific needs, including maintenance or restoration to the physical plant and upgrades or accommodations to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. Recommendations for capital improvements must adhere to the U.S. Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties for sites listed or deemed eligible for listing in the New Jersey or National Registers of Historic Places.
    • Specific needs reflecting potential planned events or operating hours and environments. This might include additional parking capacity for large events, exterior lighting for evening events, indoor heating for winter programs, flood mitigation or property grading;
    • Opportunities to use environmentally-friendly materials and practices in improvements, along with cost estimates;
    • Suggestions on types of events and interpretation appropriate to the site;
    • Suggestions for site staffing structure, i.e. interpretive staff/docents, collections management, education, maintenance, etc.
  • Recommendations on prioritization of work within each site requiring improvements.
  • Recommendations for future New Jersey Revolutionary History Visitor Center sites. Criteria will include location, advantages and disadvantages to the site, and potential resources needed to develop such a site. These sites will be considered in a subsequent feasibility study outside the scope of this RFP.

The successful bidder will be required to report its activities and progress monthly for the duration of the contract. The initial meeting will be an introductory session with the Partnership to affirm expectations, provide contacts and logistical information for sites to be assessed, set future update meeting dates/times/places and resolve any anticipated issues.

Update meetings after the initial session will be conducted by the Crossroads Association executive director and staff. At these meetings, the bidder will provide oral and written reports including the following:

  • Sites visited and assessed during the report period
  • Work plan for the coming month, including sites to be visited, follow-up research on issues and opportunities identified at sites already visited.
  • Road blocks limiting progress on plan, including staffing issues, availability of site personnel/volunteers to open site for inspection, weather, etc.
  • Progress against budget, potential issues, etc.

The bidder will also provide minutes of each update meeting to the Partnership, within seven days after the meeting, reflecting the discussion points, action items, changes to project plan, and responsibilities.

Initial meetings will be held in person at Crossroads Association offices in Trenton, N.J. As the project continues, meetings may be held via phone, web meeting services or at other locations as mutually agreed.

The successful bidder will also present its findings to the public at the Crossroads Association annual meeting, to be held in March 2020. The presentation will include general findings and recommendations for the state’s Revolutionary heritage sites as well as recommended site(s) for New Jersey Revolutionary War visitor centers.

Time Frame

The successful bidder is expected to start work on the project in March 2019, with an anticipated first phase end date in December 2019, based on an expected output of an average of two site visits per week. The contract may be renewed for additional needs (such as site RFPs and Visitor Center(s)) after work begins. Assessments will be based on the meeting of project expectations, timelines and reporting.spreadsheet available here

Deliverables

At the conclusion of the work, the successful bidder will provide the following deliverables to the Partnership in print and electronic format. Those include:

  • Visitor Readiness Report
  • Recommendation report on site(s) for New Jersey Revolutionary War visitor center(s), to be considered in a future feasibility study.

Bidder’s Qualifications and Experience

Bidders should submit proposals that demonstrate their specific qualifications and experience as outlined below. The bidders should provide resumes of key staff members demonstrating their experience and capabilities on similar projects. Please note any areas where you anticipate hiring sub-consultants to meet the project requirements and provide the resumes of those sub-consultants, demonstrating their experience and capabilities on similar projects.

The work will be carried out by a team consisting of persons with experience and expertise in history, archaeology, historic architecture, interpretation and heritage tourism, with team members meeting the requisite minimum disciplinary qualifications defined in the Secretary of the Interior’s “Professional Qualifications Standards” (36 CFR Part 61).

Specifically, team members with experience and expertise in history shall meet the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s “Professional Qualifications – Standards for History” and have at least five years of experience in the study of New Jersey history with demonstrated knowledge of New Jersey history, culture, and geography.

All activities regarding or having the potential to affect, historic buildings and structural elements must be carried out by, or under the direct supervision, of a person or persons meeting at a minimum the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s “Professional Qualifications – Standards for Historic Architecture” with at least five years of experience in historic architecture.

All activities regarding, or having the potential to affect, archaeological resources must be carried out by, or under the direct supervision of, a person or persons meeting at a minimum the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s “Professional Qualifications – Standards for Archeology,” with at least five years of experience in historical archaeology. All activities related to the interpretation of historic properties must be carried out by, or under the direct supervision, of a professional interpretive specialist with at least five years of experience in interpretation and/or education in historic sites, parks, visitor centers and/or museums. A certification from the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) or similar qualification is preferred but not essential. A major or minor in interpretation (historic resources) from an accredited institution is preferred but not essential.

The project team shall also include a team member with experience as a senior executive with responsibility for visitor services at large attractions. This individual should have a record of success in visitor services; experience in the development, management and marketing of attractions, including visitor centers, is preferred.

In addition to the above, the successful bidder will be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Proven expertise and qualifications in assessing preservation needs and related costs for historic preservation projects. Expertise should include proven knowledge and application of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
  • Experience with the tourism industry, including but not limited to visitor readiness requirements, signage, amenities, and emerging trends in site readiness.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of New Jersey history, culture, and geography.
  • Proven experience with historic preservation projects, particularly those with an 18th century focus.
  • Strong project management skills, with a demonstrated ability to manage a project of this type effectively.
  • A track record of on-time performance on complex assessment jobs of this size and type.

Please also include the following in your proposal:

  • Names, positions, email addresses and telephone numbers of three individuals who will serve as references for your work. Please select those who will be able to comment on how you or your firm have handled projects of a similar size and scope.
  • Two brief case studies (limited to 1 page each) of successful projects in which the bidder demonstrated two or more of the skills listed above.
  • For each sub-contractor, please provide names, positions, email addresses and telephone numbers of three individuals who will serve as references for their work. These references should not include the prime bidder on this contract. Each sub-contractor should select references who will be able to comment on how the sub-contractor has handled projects of a similar size and scope as the portion of the Crossroads Association project that they will be handling.
  • Each sub-contractor should also provide two brief case studies (limited to 1 page each) of successful projects in which they demonstrated skills listed above.

Minority- and women-owned businesses are encouraged to apply; if bidders include sub-consultants on their teams, they are encouraged to include minority and women-owned businesses.

Note that after the contract is awarded, if the successful bidder makes any substitutions to previously-named sub-contractors, the successful bidder will be required to submit a new sub-contractor’s name and qualifications (as described above) to the Crossroads Association for approval before the sub-contractor is to start work on the contract.

Budget

Please provide an estimated budget for this project, including staff time categorized by role/responsibility and task (as listed in Scope of Services above); materials; and anticipated administrative costs, including office expenses and tolls and mileage based on prevailing Internal Revenue Service guidelines.

We anticipate that the successful bidder’s team will visit many of New Jersey’s approximately 250 Revolutionary-era sites, several of which will be within a few miles of each other. The attached site list denotes sites in two categories:

  • Sites which require a full readiness evaluation, to be completed as part of this project.
  • Sites which have been evaluated in the recent past and may require a reinspection as part of a follow-up, subsequent to this project. (Past readiness evaluation reports on these sites will be provided to the successful bidder.)

How Proposals Will be Evaluated

Proposals will be judged on the basis of overall technical quality and cost. Demonstrated skills, experience and ability to deliver high quality work on schedule will be judged, based on case studies and interviews of provided references.

Bidders Conference

Prospective bidders are invited to attend an optional bidders conference at 11:00 a.m. on February 19, 2019 at the Old Barracks Museum, 101 Barrack Street, Trenton, NJ. Questions and responses addressed during this session are available at the top of this page, directly below the headline.

The deadline for all questions on this RFP is February 26. Crossroads will make best effort to publish responses to those questions on the RFP web page by 5:00 p.m.. on February 28, 2019.

Proposal Submission

Proposals must be received by 3:00 p.m. on March 12, 2019.

Please provide two paper copies of your proposal to the following address:

Crossroads of the American Revolution
101 Barrack Sstreet
Trenton, NJ 08608
Attn: Janice Selinger

Bidders should also submit an electronic copy of their proposals as PDF files submitted to [email protected] by the bidder deadline. E-mailed files should be no larger than 20 MB. Bidders are also welcome to submit proposals via Dropbox. Bidders submitting electronically should also call Crossroads at 609-633-2060 to confirm receipt of their proposal.

Questions regarding this RFP can be directed to Janice Selinger at [email protected] .

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