By Stan Welch
The West Pelzer Town Council voted Monday night to recommend the low bid for the construction of the proposed Chapman Park. That bid, submitted by Zorn Construction Company, was one of three received by Goodwyn, Mills, and Cawood, the design firm handling the project. The bid of $174,777 was considerably lower, with AOS Specialty submitting a bid of $188,850 and L&J Inc. bidding $193,986.
The original estimate of the costs for the project was $322,000.
The two higher bidders are located in the midlands area of the state, while Zorn Construction Company is located in Seneca. No local firms submitted bids.
The Council voted three to one to issue a letter of intent to award the contract and to authorize the design firm to meet with the contractor and insure that the bid complies with all specifications before awarding the contract. They will also discuss the best way to divide the project into phases, since the Town’s hospitality tax revenues will be the main source of funds to repay the construction loans.
Outgoing Councilman Jimmy Jeanes voted against the contract stating that the incoming Council should be involved instead.
Jeanes asked several questions about the ongoing streetscape project, questioning why the antique lamp posts included in the design had not been obtained. “We spent a lot of money on this project and I don’t think we got what we paid for. Where are the light poles, for example?” said Jeanes. “Why didn’t the construction go on up to the old NAPA building? We spent an extra $51,000 to do that didn’t we?”
Mayor Peggy Paxton explained that the lamp posts have been acquired and will be installed before the project is completed. “We also have benches and trash cans that will be put in place. I’m not sure why they haven’t already been, but the state is withholding retainage until everything is satisfactory, so it’s just a matter of time.”
She also explained that instead of buying the lamp posts themselves, the Town had an agreement with Duke Energy to provide them for a monthly fee. “That helps us manage that cost as our revenues come in, instead of having to pay some pretty steep prices up front.”
Paxton also explained that the $51,000 was a grant from Anderson County, in addition to the $200,000 from the state, which the Town matched with a $40,000 contribution. “We spent a total of $291,000 and as we get close to the end, if we have any money left, we will see how we can best use it,” said Paxton.