The Bounds is about 90% complete and town manager Joseph Quesenberry told council members the remaining work is moving along pretty quickly.
The liner for the pond has been installed and soon it will be covered with dirt, whittling down the mounds of earth currently on the site. Another portion of the dirt will be used for the landscaping, which will begin soon, and some may be required when the engineers come out and check the grading and other design elements, he explained.
In the near future, the contractor will begin pouring concrete for the spillway, which creates an escape route for water to pour into Juggs Creek if flooding occurs. After that, the fountain can be installed, and the town is already in discussions with Dominion about completing its portion of that task.
To date, Warsaw has paid Earthcrafters $699,000 for its work on The Bounds. Several months ago, the town began withholding payments to allow work completed to catch with the level of funds paid out. Satisfied with the progress, Quesenberry said he is now preparing to make another payment of about $45,000.
Project delays paying off
Warsaw received a second extension on its $1 million Department of Housing and Community Development grant, giving the town until August to wrap up the projects that grant is funding. The largest remaining project is the stormwater network that will bring runoff from Main St. down St. Johns and pour into the pond at The Bounds.
Earthcrafters was also the winning bidder for that job, and Quesenberry said the company has been working at a good pace, and as of the town council meeting on May 14, half of the work on St. Johns was complete.
Furthermore, Earthcrafters’ project delays have worked out well for Warsaw. The town has the option to charge a late fee of $300 per day. At this point, those fees have stacked up to about $40,000. But instead of taking the money, the town manager worked out a deal whereby Earthcrafters will run a stormwater extension to the parcel on the corner of Main St. and Richmond Rd. where Horn’s Ace Hardware plans to build a store.
That parcel doesn’t have much impervious cover and no existing stormwater network. Therefore, the owner would have needed to make hefty investments to get the property to meet the Department of Environmental Quality’s requirements. So, the town is getting a job that could have cost $100,000 done with its fees-for-work plan.
Quesenberry said resolving that drainage issue was key to getting Ace to agree to build its store in town.
“Since our goal is to be business and development friendly, and since our bids for the stormwater project came in considerably lower than first estimates, we think it’s a fair approach to offer this as an incentive to ensure Ace Hardware comes to Warsaw,” Quesenberry told the town council.
“It’s not costing the town any money from our general funds so we find that it’s a very advantageous proposal for both entities,” he added.
Earthcrafters told the town it expected to lay that extension within three to four weeks.
Meanwhile, Warsaw also negotiated a good faith gesture with Ace.
The town council has decided to extend its sidewalk renovation to run the entirety of the Verizon parcel and a majority of the Corner Bargains parcel at the corner of Main Street and Rt. 360. Ace “happily agreed” to cover the costs to remove the existing sidewalks in order to save the town money.
Progress leads to unforeseen project
The water line along St. Johns has snapped three times under the weight and jarring of the compactor as Earthcrafters is working on the stormwater network.
Quesenberry said the line dates back to about the 1940s, and it has gotten so old and brittle that he doesn’t believe it’s a tenable situation to keep going in making patches. He suggested that the line be replaced while ground was already open, which presents a rare opportunity.
The town council agreed and authorized him to proceed if he can get the work done at a modest cost.
“It’s bad that it showed up at this time, but it may be a blessing that it showed up at this time,” said Ogle Forrest.