Three buildings coming down: Library board eyes levy, various upgrades
By SALLY BOYD
Gazette Neighbors Editor
Downtown Bellevue will take on a whole new look early this spring with the planned demolition of the three buildings located at the corner of South Sandusky and East Main Streets.
Owned by Bellevue Public Library, the removal of the buildings was formally set in motion at a special board of trustees’ meeting on Wednesday when contracts were approved for the abatement of asbestos and demolition.
The board has owned the vacant buildings for several years and, after months of study, has finally been able to begin the process to create what will be green space and expanded parking.
In addition, along with the planned demolition of what was most recently a large apartment building, former movie theater and pizza shop, the board is looking to provided some much needed maintenance, expansion and renovations to the present library building at 224 E. Main St.
In order to improve the current building, a 0.67-mill bond issue will be placed on the May 7 ballot for the purpose of capital maintenance and improvements.
That includes some remodeling, expansion of the entrance, consolidating the check-out stations from two to one, some foundation work, making the building more accessible, improving restrooms and addressing moisture in the building, according to library Director Molly Carver.
In the recent issue of the library’s newsletter, Books to Bytes, Carver stated, “The majority of the bond proceeds will be used for building maintenance projects that go beyond the scope of the general operating budget.
“Extensive maintenance projects, such as exterior masonry work, foundation repairs and interior plaster repairs will be done to preserve our historic Carnegie building,” she noted.
“Interior painting, carpeting and renovated restrooms will restore comfortable spaces for the public. A redesign of the library entrance and staff work spaces will increase efficiency and improve accessibility.”
On Wednesday, Carver stressed that the library board has “not been able to address these needs because of the big state budget cuts, the bulk of which occurred in 2009.”
Carver said a bond issue allows “the work to be done as one project and maintains the library’s general fund revenue for annual operating expenses.”
The bond issue will raise $2.8 million to be used for capital projects only and will be paid back over 28 years.
It will cost homeowners of an $80,000 home approximately $16.64 annually or $1.38 per month, she added.
The director noted that it has been 26 years since financial assistance was provided to the library. In 1987, a bond issue was passed which allowed for extensive improvements to be made; those improvements and redesigns were opened to the public in 1989 with little changed since then.
Main focus of Wednesday’s meeting, however, was the issuance of contracts for the abatement of asbestos and demolition of the three vacant buildings to the immediate west of the library.
Before awarding the contract for asbestos abatement to Total Environmental Services, of Toledo, which had the second lowest bid, the board first “abated” a protest from a Safeco Environmental, Point Marion, Pa., which had submitted the lowest bid.
With Sandusky County Assistant Prosecutor Norman Solze sitting in on the meeting, the board rejected the challenge of Safeco Environmental.
Brett Brumbaugh, of Brumbaugh-Herrick, Inc., Monclova, environmental, health and safety consultants, recommended Total Environmental Services’ bid of $65,604, slightly higher than Safeco’s $62,000 bid.
“Safeco representatives did not attend the (library’s) pre-bid meeting or the second scheduled building walk-through to tour the buildings,” he added.
“Since they did not visit the site prior to submitting a bid, it raises a red flag as to potential requests for change orders should the project present site issues or conditions they did not observe during a walk-through,” Brumbaugh said, adding that Total Environmental did attend both the pre-bid meeting and the walk-through.
“I have a high level of comfort in the abilities and track record of Total Environmental to complete this project as specified,” said Brumbaugh. He pointed out that Total Environmental is the same company which very recently completed asbestos removal from the now-demolished former Bellevue School District buildings.
Brumbaugh said work on the asbestos removal will probably start within three weeks. He estimated that project should take about one month to complete.
The next step will be demolition of the three buildings.
Board members on Wednesday also accepted the low bid of $74,100 submitted by Moderalli Excavating, Inc., Poland, Ohio. A timeline for demolition was not established.
Demolition of the buildings will begin after the asbestos abatement has been completed. Funds for the asbestos abatement and demolition have been raised, Carver said, noting the board had to hold the bids for 90 days until appropriate funding could be obtained.