Glitch causes delay in Market Street project in downtown Warsaw

(Carli Luca / News Now Warsaw)

A bureaucratic glitch involving a driveway and a foreclosure will likely push the brunt of work on phase 2 of the Market Street project in Warsaw into next year.

The estimated $1.7 million project was expected to begin and conclude this summer, but will begin later this summer, said City Planner Jeremy Skinner Friday at the city’s Board of Public Works and Safety meeting.

As part of the project, which stretches from Bronson to Hickory streets, the city needed to obtain 10 temporary right of way agreements with property owners so that workers could ensure private driveways are properly graded to meld correctly with the newly constructed street. But one of the properties is in foreclosure, which means the true ownership is in limbo. That is forcing the city to seek a technical condemnation of the land for the sake of temporarily determining ownership.

That legal maneuver will take a few months to resolve, pushing back the date the city planned to seek bids for construction.

Skinner said the city had wanted to seek bids in March or April, but that will not happen now possibly until July. With standard preparation activities, actual construction probably won’t begin until late summer, Skinner said.

Skinner said he had explored ways to avoid the delay, but to no avail.

Mayor Joe Thallemer called the circumstances an “unfortunate” situation that is out of the city’s control.

“We’ve got a temporary $500 right of way holding up a multi-million dollar project,” Thallemer said. “That’s just the way it is.”

Skinner added, “Outside of that, the project is ready.”

Phase 2’s design will mimic Phase 1, further to the east, which wrapped up two years ago and included a wider street, new curbs, sidewalks, street lights and improvements to underground utilities. A third phase is expected to encompass Market Street from Hickory to Columbia streets, but is still in the conceptual stages.

The total cost of the first two phases is expected to be around $3 million.

In other matters, the board opened three bids for two road construction projects involving Colfax and Clark streets, only to realize all three bids came in above the engineering estimate of $522,000.

Street Superintendent Jeff Beeler said they will look at either scaling back the project or delaying the work until more money becomes available.

The three bids were from Niblock Excavating, Bristol, for $720,809; Phend & Brown, Milford, for $744,441; and Rieth-Riley, Goshen, for $842,470.64.

In another matter, the board approved the purchase of a new asset management systems software that will integrate with the existing GIS mapping system and provide a wide range of efficiencies for nearly all city departments, officials said.

The companies involved are Novotx LLC, of Clearfield, Utah, and ESRI Inc. of Redlands, Calif. Cost of the initial start up will be a combined $78,000. Combined maintenance costs for both will be $25,000 beginning in 2019.

Among the benefits, the software allows for unlimited users, can be tailored to specific jobs, and will be especially useful for  projects involving utilities, street department work and infrastructure.

It also will help with budget forecasting as well as public safety incidents because police and fire will be able to access information from the scene.

The city has been looking at the related possibilities for about two years.

Funds from the wastewater and GIS departments will cover the costs.

Board member Jeff Grose conceded the cost is “a lot of money,” but will allow the city to provide a better service through an increased ability to communicate using a massive amount of information to solve problems.

The plan was approved by Thallemer and Grose. Board member George Clemens was absent.