BENWOOD - Benwood officials are working with the owners of the Bellaire Bridge on an agreement that could lead to the span's eventual demolition.
Benwood City Council still needs to approve the deal, and next meets Aug. 14, said Police Chief Frank Longwell.
Longwell and Jeremy Domozick - a representative of bridge owners KDC Investments and Delta Demolition - each confirmed details of the agreement this past week, which is similar to an agreement first discussed by council members in April. The proposed plan calls for KDC and Delta Demolition to put $500,000 into an escrow account solely in the city of Benwood's name. The companies then would have six months to complete demolition of the bridge.
If KDC and Delta Demolition were to fail to complete bridge demolition and leave the project, they would forfeit the $500,000 in escrow and also the rights to all remaining metal, Longwell said. The money from the sale of the metal, along with the escrow, would then be used to pay another contractor to demolish what remains of the bridge.
Longwell also noted if KDC and Delta Demolition complete the project, the $500,000 would be returned to them with interest.
Krystal Chaklos, owner of KDC Investments, is married to Lee Chaklos, owner of Delta Demolition, and that husband-and-wife relationship has complicated the deal, Longwell said.
Having an escrow account is a better choice for this situation, Domozick agreed, noting "a performance bond is not really appropriate in this situation."
"The city can't be named as a party in a performance bond," Domozick said. "It doesn't own the bridge, and is not paying anyone to take it down.
"And it may be difficult if Krystal has to require her husband to get a performance bond. An insurance company could be reticent to grant the bond. If Delta Demolition were unable to complete the job, she would have to go after her husband to recoup the loss. It doesn't make sense."
Domozick said he has been working with Benwood officials to meet their demands.
"As it has been all along, it is up to the city now on how long it wants to take," he said. "We hope to have something resolved by the next council meeting, but it is a long process."
Some type of insurance is needed to ensure the safety of Benwood residents, as much of the bridge sits over land in Benwood, Longwell said.
"There are waterlines ... gas lines there, and that's why we are very adamant," he said. "This is the closest we've been, and we're hoping this is the final deal. We have a lot of time in, and we want that bridge out of there because of the condition."