City Council had the item on the agenda to accept a low bid for work to start. But they failed to take action and the project wasn’t even discussed.
“(The project) came back with a much larger bid than we were thinking,” Mayor Geri McCaleb said.
The project is the result of a $750,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. A $250,000 city match comes from the city’s water, sewer and street funds.
“The work needs to be done and that is a good grant,” McCaleb said.
The lowest bid was nearly $400,000 over the budget, even after some cuts and trims were made to the project.
“We are doing our due diligence to make sure that the people are getting their money’s worth,” McCaleb said.
The city and Downtown Development Authority recently discussed changes to the project given the larger bids. The DDA also voted to contribute to the project to cover some of the overages.
To cut costs, two large walls at the north and south corners of U.S. 31 and Washington Avenue to welcome people to the business district would be reduced to one wall. Other cost-savings include changing the fill material for tree plantings, paving parking lots with asphalt, removing brickwork in sidewalks and handicap ramps, removing decorative art walls, and changing from circular to square flower planters.
What wouldn’t change are fixes to the public utilities, including water and sewer lines, and the road and sidewalk.
With no action taken by council at its Monday night meeting, city staff was left wondering what is next.
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