Monday, May 20, 2013

Council considers how to finish the new Gratz Street wall: Natural stone? Manufactured stone? Stamped concrete?

Looking north on Gratz Street toward Main Street
The Midway City Council passed its budget for 2013-14 without discussion last night, but spent a good deal of time talking about the biggest project in the budget: reconstruction of the walls and sidewalk on Gratz Street at the east end of downtown.

The council voted to accept the $63,173.50 bid of Karsner Construction Co. of Frankfort for the work, which was 21 percent higher than the engineer's estimate of $49,710. Joe Grider of HMB Professional Engineers said the estimate was based on initial design work, and he increased the quantities of materials in the final design, increasing the cost. The new budget allocates $70,000 for the project, to be paid from funds accumulated over the last several years.

The other bids were $90,064 from Woodall Construction Co. of Lexington and $94,178 from Stewart Contracting Corp. of Richmond. "I didn't see anything out of line" in Karsner's bid, Grider said, adding that on most of the 11 bid items, at least one of the unsuccessful bidders was much higher than the other two bidders. For HMB's tabulation of the bids, click here.

The bid item that drew discussion was the plan to use a stamped concrete finish for the wall, which Karsner bid at $6,827. The current wall is made of hand-cut stone that has badly deteriorated. Council Member Dan Roller said the wall should be finished with stone, "a more Midway type of thing." He said tourists come to the area to see stone walls, not concrete formed to look like stone.

"It's going to be considerably more" to finish the wall with stone, Mayor Tom Bozarth said, suggesting that it could be done at a later time, but also saying that the city might be able to save a few thousand dollars by demolishing the existing wall and sidewalk. Council Member Aaron Hamilton said he liked that idea, but Grider noted that the option was included in the bid, and Karsner deducted only $4,400 of the $6,845 demolition bid. Why? "As soon as he turns control of that over to the city, he's at the mercy of the city" for the project schedule, Grider said.

Council Member Sara Hicks asked if the existing wall's stone could be re-used; several at the meeting said it could not because it was of poor quality and badly weathered. After the council voted to accept the contract, Council Member Bruce Southworth asked if the wall could be finished in manufactured stone, which looks real to many observers. Grider said it might look better than stamped concrete for a few years, but after 20 years "I'm not so sure." He agreed to check on costs of both natural and manufactured stone and report back.

Bozarth said he wants the project done by Sept. 1 because the Midway Fall Festival will be held Sept. 21 and 22. The bid document calls for the work to be completed within 60 calendar days; Grider said Karsner told him work could start two weeks after getting notice and should take 25 to 20 working days, or about six weeks.

Forum in Versailles June 18 for candidates in special election for state representative

Among other business at the meeting, Don Vizi, executive director of the Woodford County Chamber of Commerce, said the group had hoped to have its forum for state-representative candidates at Midway College on June 18, the only date that all three candidates were available, but the venue was not available that night, so the forum will be held at Falling Springs Park in Versailles, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Vizi was reminded that the county fair will be getting under way at the park that night, and was asked how those who only wanted to attend the forum could do so without paying the fair's admission fee, which is charged at the entrance to the grounds. Vizi, who has been on the job only a few months, said he was unaware of that complication and would try to get it worked out.

A special election for state representative from the 56th District (Woodford County and parts of Fayette and Franklin counties) will be held June 25 to fill the year and a half remaining in the term of Democrat Carl Rollins of Midway, who resigned to head the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority. The candidates are Republican Lyen Crews, independent John-Mark Hack and Democrat James Kay.

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