First Posted: 11/5/2009
A bad economy and construction contractors hunger for work will enable a project at a Mount Airy industrial park to be completed much cheaper than planned, officials said.
Work to extend water and sewer lines to Piedmont Triad West Corporate Park originally anticipated to cost as much as $900,000 will in fact be completed for $352,365, officials say.
The city and county governments will split that cost down the middle, which would have been as much as $450,000 for each under earlier estimates, but now has been trimmed to about $175,000.
This is a good example of how tough economic times can lead to substantial savings, Todd Harris, a Mount Airy commissioner, said at a meeting Thursday night when he and fellow board members approved the citys share of the expense. The county commissioners earlier OKd funding for their share.
Harris said contractors desire for work has provided a silver lining in a dark economic cloud that has created a quite-favorable climate for construction projects.
Thirteen companies bid on the utility extensions to Piedmont Triad West Corporate Park, where they will serve two prime sites of about 30 acres each that officials hope will be occupied by new industries as a result. Recently, Central States Manufacturing held a groundbreaking for a new plant in the same facility located off U.S. 601 near the Interstate 74 interchange.
The lowest proposal was submitted by Wilkie Construction Co. Inc. of Lenoir, which already is installing lines in the Dobson area. Officials believe that is one factor in the favorable cost, due to the firm already having equipment mobilized nearby. The highest bid, $777,777, was offered by a Monroe company.
There are no words to explain how great that price is, City Manager Don Brookshire said at a meeting earlier Thursday of the City-County Liaison Committee. That group contains officials of both entities who meet to discuss joint projects such as the industrial park work.
Are you sure it includes pipes? joked Craig Hunter, the chairman of the county commissioners, who also was present at the liaison meeting.
Work at the industrial park will get under way soon, which is part of local officials plan to have shovel-ready sites available for any companies that might consider locating there.
Harris added Thursday night that he thinks the city and county should explore other possible projects that might be completed given the favorable financial atmosphere for construction work.
The Mount Airy commissioner had said at the earlier liaison meeting that he also thought the significantly lower expense of the upcoming work was welcome news because the $900,000 expense had drawn some criticism.
But Hunter responded that this criticism had come from no one who really mattered. The move had been questioned during the recent campaign season in Mount Airy by citizens including at least one mayoral candidate.
When asked later Thursday to clarify specifically who he meant by his comment, Hunter supplied this statement via email:
There are folks who seem to publicly complain about everything regardless of the positive effort and intent of the elected officials. (Its) more of a general statement than targeting anyone in particular.
Hunters statement added, I personally have not gotten any negative reaction or feedback on (the) citys and countys effort to improve the PTW industrial park to be more attractive to businesses and industries and lure new jobs.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.