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12-02-05 Low demolition bid irks area contractors

By Tim Cox

  The contract for demolishing and clearing the original city water plant on Touvelle Street drew plenty of interest at a Thursday meeting, but left some contractors grumbling about the apparent result.

  Mercer County Commissioners, who handled the bidding for the city of Celina, received 12 bids for the work. The contract prices ranged from a low of $9,121 from Chuck Samples General Contracting Inc., Celina, to a high of $68,800. Numerous contractors from as far as the Cleveland area and Indiana bid for the work along with local companies.

  Some contractors complained after hearing Samples quoted price. They said their prices included more for hauling and disposing of the demolition debris than Samples' entire quote.

  It will be up to Celina officials to determine if the Samples bid covers everything requested and to award the contract. Commissioners handled the bidding because they managed the county 2004 Community Development Block Grant progran that is paying for the project.

  Celina officials have already talked with Samples about the bid and everything appears to be in order.  "We are doing some final checking, but they have verbally verified the bid," Safety-Service Director Jeff Hazel said.

  Hazel agreed the bid seemed too low to be true, noting the engineering estimate for the work was $65,000.

  The 6,000-square-foot building was originally constructed in 1894 and served for many years as the city's water plant. Demolition bid documents say the building at 439 Touvelle St. has a brick exterior with block backup, wood frame roof trusses, asphalt shingles and lies mostly on a concrete slab. There is a small basement under part of the building.

  The building has served many purposes through the years, including as a shooting range. It now serves only as a warehouse for the bicycles the city police department accumulates before selling them at auction and a few vehicles that have either been forfeited or are being held as part of investigations.

  If the city really gets the site cleared for under $10,000, officials might be able to seek permission to do some other project with the remaining $40,000 or so in grant money.


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