A new contractor has been chosen to finish work on the long-delayed East Gadsden Community Center.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Gadsden City Council, it authorized an agreement with Bob Smith Construction, Inc. to complete the remaining work under the original contract for the project
The original bid for the project was $5.5 million, and City Attorney Lee Roberts said the city has $3.5 million remaining that has not been spent.
He said the cost for completion will be $5.2 million, but the bonding company will cover the difference between the amounts.
“Assuming there are no further hiccups out there, this project will be completed without any further spending of taxpayer money,” Roberts said.
Groundbreaking on the project was held in February 2018, and the plan was to have the project completed in about nine months.
However, Roberts said work on the new community center stopped during construction, and the city engaged the surety company earlier this year to step in and help finish the project.
All public construction projects by the city are bonded through a surety company that ensures the project is completed by the terms of the contract, which includes things like quality and timeliness.
Roberts said NGM Insurance Company worked with the city on the claim.
“They have secured another contractor that is familiar with our city engineer and has a good past working with [him],” Roberts said. “We have entered into an agreement on how we’re going to finish the project.”
In addition to the money covered by the bonding company, the city has received some money in liquidated damages, which hopefully will offset additional architecture fees and any unforeseen costs.
Roberts said the new contractor has a year to finish the project, but he has told the city it will hopefully be finished before then.
City Engineer Heath Williamson said after the meeting that he expects work to start after the first of the year as there is still paperwork to be done.
Another infrastructure issue got attention at the meeting as District 3 council member Thomas Worthy talked about street lights being out on Tuscaloosa Avenue.
Worthy said there are 19 lights out from Henry Street to 10th Street, and the first resolution to fix them came up in 2018.
“I just don’t understand — we can find money for any project we want to have except for doing something in District 3,” said Worthy, who said he had been told by Mayor Sherman Guyton weeks ago that the city would fix the lights, and they shouldn’t have to wait until a new budget comes around.
Guyton said it would have to be added to the city’s next budget, and he was mistaken when he said there was money already available.
“To portray me as not [doing] anything for Carver, we’ve put more than $2 million into that whole strip since I’ve been in office,” said Guyton, who also listed several of those projects.
“I’m glad to do that just like any other part of town, but it’s not in the budget and it’ll have to wait,” he said.
The city also approved a memorandum of understanding regarding the use of Everbridge by Safeware — software that allows the sending of public alerts.
The memo allows the Gadsden/Etowah Emergency Management Agency to split costs for the service with DeKalb, Marshall, Lauderdale, Calhoun, Cleburne and Morgan counties.
Each agency’s cost will be determined by its population.