Bid taken to stabilize collapsed buildings on Clay|[06/11/08]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A bid received by Vicksburg officials Tuesday to stabilize structures at the Clay Street site where two buildings collapsed more than two years ago will give the city a jump-start to clean up the area and save the historic downtown structures.

Although a trial to determine the fate of the buildings, owned by Preston and Mary Reuther, is set for June 23 in Warren County Circuit Court, the Board of Mayor and Alderman agreed last month to advertise for the bids to be prepared to move forward if the court rules against the owners, who have said they would like to demolish the remaining structures, which have remained in a pile of bricks and debris since the January 2006 collapse.

Tuesday’s bid was from Riverside Construction Company, a company that will stabilize the buildings for $84,025.

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“If we don’t have closure before the month is out, we will move forward,” Leyens said.

The bid marks the city’s second attempt to stabilize the structures at 707 and 711 Clay street. In 2006, officials received a bid for $69,875, but, before work could begin, Circuit Judge Isadore Patrick issued an order prohibiting private contractors from clearing the debris on the property.

“We have basically re-done what we did two years ago,” Leyens said. “If they don’t start on (demolition), we will immediately take it over.”

After the Jan. 25, 2006, collapse, the Reuthers, who had moved to Vicksburg to take part in the city’s downtown makeover, began work at the site, but were stopped by the city because proper permits weren’t issued and no plan had been approved. The couple has said stabilizing the structures could cost $300,000 or more.

On the agendaIn a Tuesday meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, the board:Introduced Pamela Graham as Mayor for the Day and heard a presentation on the 2008 Mississippi River Flood from her sister, Tiffany Graham.Approved board meeting minutes from May 5.Recognized Eddie Smith of the Vicksburg Fire Department for 25 years of service.Awarded a sealed bid to Falco Lime for pebble lime for multiple line items.Rejected a sealed bid for a digital display sign at the Vicksburg Convention Center and authorized the city clerk to re-advertise.Heard an update on the Southern Cultural Heritage Center from director Annette Kirklin.Approved a request for sponsorship in the amount of $500 for the 20th Annual Over the River Run, which will be Oct. 11.Tabled a request for donation by the Central Mississippi Prevention Services for its 2008 Summer Leadership Camp.

Approved a budget amendment for the Vicksburg Convention Center in the amount of $20,000 for conference media equipment to be moved into the city’s capital category to help pay for a digital display sign.Authorized the mayor to execute an engagement letter with Bifferato Gentilotti for representation in the Tropicana bankruptcy.Adopted a resolution by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen to designate Tasha Wynn at the city clerk’s office to sign checks and perform banking transactions.Adopted a resolution authorizing the preparation and submittal of an application to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety Office of Highway Safety Division of Public Safety Planning under the fiscal year 2009 Occupant Protection Grant program to use $10,000 in grant money for local police to enforce the state’s seat belt laws. The board also authorized the preparation and submittal for a grant for the Mississippi Leadership Council on Aging’s Triad Grant Program for fiscal year 2009 to put on the Seniors in Stride health and safety program.Adopted a resolution to allow purchasing director Tim Smith to purchase items up to $25,000 for the city.Authorized the approval and submittal of four NRCS projects at Bowmar Avenue, Alfred Drive, Hills of the Valley Street and Halls Ferry Road for road improvements.Authorized the mayor to execute an agreement for engineering services on an “as needed” basis for various items due to a revision of Allen & Hoshall hourly rates.Discussed 12 dilapidated buildings and overgrown lot codes and authorized Victor Gray-Lewis, director of buildings and inspections, to proceed to cut, clean and demolish properties.Accepted a letter establishing special assessment and adopted a resolution for cutting and cleaning of a property at 811 Bowman St., owned by Collins Helen Foster.Ratified Entergy’s right of way form for a power pole at Levee and Grove streets.Rescinded a motion approving a requisition to purchase supplies for the cemetery department for $28,272 to G&O Supply Co., and to purchase FiberForce reinforced lumber for the Art Park Playground for $2,887.10 to Bedford Technology LLC and approved requisitions to purchase supplies for the cemetery department for $28,782 and lumber for the playground for $2,918.10.Approved the claims docket.The board will meet again Monday at 10 a.m.