Council accepts bids to raze Green Acres
Oberlin city council voted unanimously Monday night to accept bids for the demolition of the buildings at Green Acres. The decision puts to rest any discussion on whether or not the city should repurpose the buildings.
“The layout of the building, as well as its deteriorated condition, does not lend itself to adaptive reuse. Numerous staff and certain council members have toured the building to consider its future potential,” public works director Jeff Baumann said in a memo to council. “Consensus has built around the need to remove the building and substantially clear the site for redevelopment.”
The demolition of the main building on the property, which served as the Lorain County Children’s Home until it closed in 1995, was divided into two separate contracts, one for the removal of asbestos from the property and the other for the demolition of the structure.
The asbestos removal contract was awarded to Coleman Trucking, Inc., of Cleveland, for the amount of $45,018.65. Coleman Trucking’s bid was the lowest of the four bids the city received, with the highest being a little over $48,000, which was still well below the city’s estimate of $54,025 for the project.
The demolition contract was awarded to Badger Construction Company, Inc. of Morgantown, W.Va., for $117,900. Oberlin received eight bids for the demolition, with the highest being just over $185,000.
The city engineer estimated the cost of the demolition project at $125,603.
“The combined value of the low bids for the asbestos removal and the demolition contracts is $162,918.68. This is about $12,500 less than the previous low bid,” Baumann said.
At the May 7 city council meeting, the city leaders voted to reject all bids on the demolition project, the lowest of which was $175,368. By law council had to reject the bids, according to the Ohio Revised Code, because the estimate was more than 10 percent over the city’s initial estimate of $112,022 for the demolition project.
Baumann and his staff decided splitting the demolition into two separate contracts would possibly lower the bids submitted by companies.
While city officials see the demolition of the buildings as a positive step forward in using the land at Green Acres, which the city purchased from Lorain County in September, 2011 for $265,000, residents have raised concern that the city is razing buildings that could potentially be used for other needs.
“What you people are doing tonight is typical stuff. Passing it on emergency without any discussion, and we’re going to roll along with this,” Oberlin resident Tony Mealy said to council Monday night. “All I can tell council is I’m rather disappointed. I don’t see the vision here at all. Nobody used any vision; no one went out and got a structural engineer to look at the building. What you see on the inside is not really the structure. There’s a structure there that is worth $1.5 million and you’re going to destroy it.”
Mealy said he feels the building is structurally sound and it could be gutted and renovated to be used for city offices. Other residents have suggested the building be used as a recreation center.
“When the land became available, the focus on that council was we were interested in the purchase of the land, not the building,” said council vice president Sharon Soucy. “One reason it may appear there wasn’t lengthy discussion over this is because council was generally unanimous over why we were making this move. Our focus was the land. My personal feeling is at this point we don’t have the money to renovate the building.”
The city of Oberlin doesn’t have a clear-cut plan for what the land will be used for at this time, though the city’s planning commission is working on a suggestions to present to council in the near future, possibly as soon as the next council meeting on June 18.