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EdgeCo Gets Nod for Work on Sanford Center

Photo by Alan Olson Moundsville’s city leaders discuss financial matters, including the demolition of the Sanford Center and a new municipal building.

MOUNDSVILLE — City leaders are advancing a bid from Edgco, Inc. for approval to demolish the blighted Sanford Center.

At a meeting of the city’s finance subcommittee Tuesday evening, discussion between the council and building inspector Bill Wilson determined that the city would prefer to haul away some material that would otherwise be buried — in this case, parts of the foundation that could be mulched into gravel.

This led the committee to suggest going with EdgCo’s bid of $190,150 for the demolition work, which includes any asbestos abatement. This comes in around $15,800 cheaper than Dore & Associates, who was previously identified as the low bid to leave some material buried.

“If we have this material out of there already, … it would still make it more attractive of a purchase,” said Ginger DeWitt, to the vocal agreement from other members of council.

City Manager Rick Healy did not know what the timeframe for getting work started would be, but did say he was happy to get the city moving on the demolition. Lately, he said, reports had been coming in to the city of trespassers inside the building, with flashlights reportedly being seen inside the structure, which has all doors and windows locked.

Finance committee head Randy Chamberlain recommended EdgCo’s bid to be approved at the next meeting of city council.

In other matters, during a city manager’s workshop taking place just prior to the meetings, city officials balked at bids that came in far over budget to construct a new municipal building. At the informal workshop, the low bid was given as $11.1 million which was far in excess of the city’s ability to fund, under an ordinance passed earlier this year.

“I think it kind of goes without saying … that we’re not going to accept the bid as it is, because we can only authorize bids up to nine and a half million dollars,” Healy said. “We would need to come up with an additional $3 million-plus in equity to make that project work, and I don’t think anyone here really wants to do that, myself included.”

Council members discussed their options, with the prevailing opinion being to reject the bids and address the matter at a later date, possibly when facing better economic prospects. Chamberlain pointed to logistical issues on the west coast, where cargo ships face extensive wait times to dock at Long Beach and Los Angeles.

“We all have seen in the news these cargo ships sitting out on the west coast; I don’t know what’s in those ships, but it’s not going anywhere, and if there’s building materials on those ships, that could really impact our projects, and delay it considerably,” Chamberlain said.

“We might be going into this at maybe one of the worst times,” he continued. “We’ve all seen what COVID has been. We have people out of work and not willing to work. I think we’re in a highly inflationary period, and those tend to, throughout our country’s history, run in cycles. It’s possible that we could come in during a deflation period, or at least a cooling-off period, if nothing else. I just don’t think we should accept these bids as they are.”

Other members of council, including mayor Dave Wood, agreed with the decision to reject the bids and see what solutions could be found with patience.

“I feel that the positives of rejecting the bids and moving forward outweighs any of the negatives,” Wood said. “We can’t come up with 3 million additional dollars, or whatever it is. I think what we need to do is reject the bids, give it some time, … wait and see what a few months will bring as far as the one-percent (sales tax), and I do like summer construction. Even though I know it happens a lot, construction during winter months, I don’t think it’s the best way to go.”

During the committee meeting proper, Chamberlain confirmed with city attorney Tom White that the council would need to officially reject the bids, which was also scheduled for the next meeting.

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