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The opening of a new Truro Township fire station on East Main Street in Reynoldsburg has been delayed again, this time until August, because the general contractor, Palmetto Construction Services LLC, abandoned the project last month.

The opening of a new Truro Township fire station on East Main Street in Reynoldsburg has been delayed again, this time until August, because the general contractor, Palmetto Construction Services LLC, abandoned the project last month.

The station has already faced weather delays. Its original December 2018 completion date was moved to January 2019 because heavy rain the previous spring delayed foundation work. The opening date was moved again to April this year before Palmetto backed out of the project.

Palmetto “voluntarily defaulted” on its contract to build the $3.9 million Fire Station 161 in February, Truro Township fire Chief Jeff Sharps said.

A Feb. 6 letter sent by email and certified mail to Sharps said the Columbus-based company “is unable to complete the … contract and does voluntarily default said contract.”

The letter was signed by Casey Cusack and Jerry Diodore, both principals in the company.

An email to the company seeking comment was not answered; a recording on the company’s telephone line said the voicemail box was full and could no longer accept messages.

Administrator Jason Nicodemus said Truro Township had paid Palmetto $1,611,744.

Fire Station 161 is about 50 percent complete, Sharps said, but construction has continued because the project’s surety bonding company, Ohio Farmers Insurance Company-Westfield Group, took over for Palmetto in mid-February and has retained most of the subcontractors Palmetto originally hired.

Since the Westfield Group took over, there has been a “lot of movement at the station,” Truro Township trustee Pat Mahaffey said. “They didn’t really miss a beat. Three days later, there were people on the job and there’s been a steady stream of workers in there ever since.

“Construction isn’t a perfect science and it’s unfortunate that Palmetto had this problem … but we made sure we had a good bonding agent in place.

Because of the surety bond, the delay is not expected to increase construction costs, officials said.

“When we were vetting the prospective bidders, the township did everything it could in terms of our due diligence,” Sharps said. “Nothing that we saw gave us any indication that this was going to happen or we wouldn’t have picked (Palmetto).

“We are doing anything and everything in our power to make that opening date,” Sharps said. “This project has gone slowly but if we can get it done by August, we’re looking at about 18 months since we demolished the old station. We’re making sure we’re spending the taxpayers’ money properly. That station has to be built right and it’s got to last.”

https://www.thisweeknews.com/news/20190306/contractor-defaults-on-truro-township-fire-station

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