Harlem city officials approved a contractor's bid Tuesday for a long-awaited downtown-renovation project.
At a special meeting, city officials approved a bid for more than $1.4 million from a Peachtree City company, the only contender in the third round of contractor bids. The same company was the only bidder in the second round in June.
"This is the day we've been waiting for," Mayor Scott Dean said. "...This one, and the day we cut the ribbon when it is done."
The city has been working on the project for more than four years.
Harlem was awarded $300,000 in state DOT Transportation Enhancement grant funds in 2002 for the first phase of the project and another $700,000 of the same funding earlier this year for the second phase.
Other sources, including other DOT grant funds, a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and $250,000 in city funds, also will pay for the project.
With the two phases combined, the project will stretch along Louisville Road from Forrest Street to Church Street and will include installing an overlay material to preserve sidewalks and adding lighting poles and benches.
Curbside parking was removed, widening the road enough to accommodate tractor-trailers, and was replaced with a paved lot across from the Harlem Department of Public Safety.
A second downtown lot behind the public safety building will be paved.
The project was reworked after the second round of bids solicited only one bid from potential contractors.
The project is divided into Division I, with four parts, and Division II, which entails paving the parking lot behind the public safety building.
Once the project is officially awarded to the contractor, a change order deleting a few extras, including landscaping and a clock, is expected to be approved, said city engineer John McClellan, of G. Ben Turnipseed Engineers Inc.
McClellan said nearly $50,000 in contingency funds could be used for the remaining parts of the project not included in the base bid, which is the highest priority.
"Really, the only thing you are missing as far as awarding the base bid is this little area right here in front of city hall that was going to have a clock in it," McClellan said.
"That clock was about $8,000 itself, then or course, the landscaping and the trash receptacles. We can add some of those things back in as far as the money will allow us to go."
When city officials approved the resolution to award the bid, the contract was sent to a DOT administrator for review, McClellan said.
The administrator will then send Harlem officials what they have waited nearly five years for: an official notice to proceed with construction.
McClellan said a pre-construction meeting will be in December, but he doesn't expect work to begin until January.
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