Ridgeway plans new downtown restrooms

RIDGEWAY – The town of Ridgeway began advertising for bids this week for the construction of four public restrooms downtown behind the old town hall building, putting into motion a plan that has been two years in the making.

The plans approved Thursday night during a special called meeting will allow for two restrooms each for men and women, with one of each designated for handicap access.

At the Jan. 10 meeting, Councilman Rufus Jones said the plans could be reduced, if budgeting required, to allow for just two restrooms – one each for men and women. Both restrooms would also be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

During preliminary discussions on the project last year, the county council had made conditional offerings to the Ridgeway council to assist with the construction of the restrooms if the town purchased the plans and materials. Councilwoman Angela Harrison brought up those offerings during the restroom discussions, questioning why it was still going out for bid. Cookendorfer said the town would still need to move forward with a bid process before it could consider any offers.

“We don’t even know that this is something that is, first of all, feasible for the town to afford. I think we need to figure out what this is going to cost us and then we can go back to the county and ask what they can offer us – be it labor, additional funding or whatever,” Cookendorfer stated.

Jones said that it would be a typical offer from the county to allow the town use of inmates from the local detention center for construction work. Cookendorfer said that would be information Jones could take back in his conversations with the project’s contractor for a discussion on the final cost to the town.

The bids will be opened publicly at a future town council meeting.

Water Tank Project Overruns

The council also discussed Jones’ concerns over the water tank project located at the Geiger Elementary School that Cookendorfer said will be further fodder for the need of a town attorney.

Jones said he found many things wrong with a contract pertaining to the work on the water tank project, and requested the panel enter into executive session to further discuss the matter. That request was denied, however, because the item was not designated on the meeting’s agenda as an executive session item.

“All I know is the amount of money that we allocated for the tank project, and the things that I’ve seen, were overrun, are incorrect and were done improperly without going through the town,” Jones stated.

He described one of the discrepancies as a change order in the amount of $16,400 that he said was never brought before the town council for approval before moving forward.

Jones alleged that change order was the result of the engineer making incorrect measurements for the amount of pipe needed for the project, and he said that was something the town should not be legally responsible for.

“The engineer misread the amount of pipe, the contractor put it in, and we never should have signed it. The change order is not correct, and the engineer owes it for missing it (the measurement),” Jones stated.

The item was ultimately tabled by council at the recommendation of Cookendorfer to allow for further information to be brought forward at council’s regular meeting next month.

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