The mayor and Board of Aldermen called a special meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss the most recent delay in the construction of the forthcoming downtown parking garage.
Almost immediately after calling the meeting to order, the board voted to go into executive session, forcing all non-essential personnel to leave the room.
While in executive session, they discussed the complicated matter they’d found themselves in with the garage. The way the construction is being handled is that rather than hiring a general contractor to work with different service providers, the city is utilizing the experts at Innovative Construction Management to find service providers willing to contract directly with the city, thus cutting out the middle man.
One of these contractors was Shaw Services. Shaw was hired to complete all of the concrete work that would go into the garage. This includes tearing out the old parking lot, putting down a new one, laying the foundation for the garage and then paving each layer of garage as it was constructed. According to the city, however, Shaw services was not able to complete their end of the agreement when to came to obtaining a bond that would ensure they city was not held liable in the event that something went wrong.
During their executive session, the board voted to withdraw their previously accepted bid on this portion of the project with Shaw Services.
So now, things get a bit complicated. When it comes to municipalities spending taxpayer money, there are certain rules and procedures that must be followed. In order to contract a new company to provide these services, the city must advertise for at least two weeks that they soon open bids for the work. Once those two weeks are up, the city must leave the call for bids open for 15 days.
After the bids are taken, the city will look through what has been submitted and figure out which bids they will accept and which ones they will reject.
Overall, the process is going to take at least a month and a half. The absolute earliest that the city could begin construction on the garage again is in November, but City Engineer Bart Robinson says that the process will likely be a little more drawn out than that.
In the meantime, the fencing around the parking lot behind Oxford Square North was taken down and that lot will remain open until further notice, likely through the end of the current football season.
The city will now begin the process of notifying other contractors involved with the construction of the garage and make sure that they are still able to work on the project given this new drastic shift in timeline.