A community overhaul is finally poised to begin, as a re-bid of a Community Development Block Grant project targeting several neighborhoods north of Clinton has been conducted and the contract awarded.
The City Council on Tuesday awarded the project to Columbus Utilities of Whiteville, the low bidder with a bid of $597,601,50.
“This is our second bidding of this project,” said city manager John Connet. “As you recall, we rejected the bids last month.”
Issues at the Department of Commerce and a contractor-requested bid increase of $42,000 led City Council to reject all bids last month, after initially awarding it in early September, and rebid the Eliza Lane CDBG project.
Following an opening in July, a total of 11 bids were received for the project, with T&H Construction of North Carolina Inc. of Hampstead receiving the nod from city managerial staff as the lowest bid. Council subsequently approved T&H Construction’s low bid in the amount of $625,600.35, with T&H previously performed the work on the city’s Pugh Road CDBG project.
The approved re-bid presents a reduced cost of $28,000 from the bid approved in September. Connet recommended the bid be approved,a nd Council unanimously approved.
The Eliza Lane project is expected to improve the quality of life in several neighborhoods by improving streets, fire service and water and sewer infrastructure in the area.
The total project includes new water and sewer lines in the neighborhood, fire hydrants and paving Eliza Lane, Abron Street and Jerome Street, which are all currently dirt roads. The area, located immediately adjacent tothe city limits off U.S. 701, consists of 22 residences that do not have city water or sewer services. City officials said the streets are in “extremely bad condition,” some being impassable after a heavy rain.
Specifically, the project will include 2,070 linear feet of water lines, 1,570 linear feet of sewer lines and nearly a half mile of street paving. The CDBG grant for $572,765 was matched with $217,785 from the city, split evenly between the 2011-12 and 2012-13 budgets.
Also at the City Council meeting, public works director Jeff Vreugdenhil explained a project that would target a baker’s dozen streets for water infrastructure improvements through a similar grant for which the city recently applied.
Clinton has submitted a preliminary application for CDBG funds to replace galvanized water lines in several areas of the city. Prior to any formal application, the city is required to hold a public hearing.
That hearing, to receive citizen input on the city’s intention to apply for FY 2012 CDBG Infrastructure Program funding under Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act, was conducted Tuesday night. The application is for a grant of approximately $750,000 to upgrade existing 2-inch water lines on 11 city streets to standard 6-inch PVC pipe “to improve water quality, reduce line breaks and provide fire protection,” Vreugdenhil noted.
“Back in September, we made an application to the state Community Development Block Grant fund, $750,000 with a minimum match of 5 percent from the city of Clinton,” the public works director. “These projects have to be in a 70 percent or higher low- to moderate-income area. Once we identified all the water lines that were in low- to moderate-income areas, we overlayed the map to show in the application where it coinciding with needed water line improvements.”
The project areas are East Boney, Green, Phillips, Herring, Ellen, Kennedy, Graham, Grantham, Lloyd, West Powell, Maple and Betty streets, as well as Walston Lane, for a total of about 8,000 linear feet of 2-inch — or less — galvanized water lines.
“As you can imagine, most of these lines are very old and very brittle, and substandard for fire flow,” said Vreugdenhil. “There is fire protection in all these areas, but there will be additional fire hydrants along all these lines, so you wouldn’t have to pull from across these streets. It drastically improves our infrastructure.”
The grant would encompass a construction estimate of $568,000, with a $56,900 contingency. Engineering and design, construction management and inspection would make up the balance. The city’s match would be 5 percent, equal to the 5 percent contingency of $56,900 for a $750,000 project.
Since making the application, Vreugdenhil said he met with CDBG staff in Raleigh.
“I have every indication that the preliminary application was reviewed favorably, and I’m hopeful that I will hear shortly that we’ll be asked to make a full application,” said Vreugdenhil.
He said the city typically has 60 days between receiving an invitation to apply and the due date for the final application. While the project is by no means a done deal, with Clinton not even approved to participate in a final application process, Vreugdenhil said this project could serve as yet another CDBG endeavor to improve the city.
“These are the types of projects that the city has been very successful in for many years to improve our infrastructure at a reduced costs by utilizing grants,” the public works director said.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.