The City Manager of Inverness and one of his councilors are not usually tasked with demolition work on a city building project. But the city’s old station is anything but typical.
To save money and meet the deadline of having the new tenants in the station and operating by July 3, City Manager Eric Williams and Councilman Gene Davis and two other city fieldworkers dismantled the 90-foot-long bridge of the old station and took away broken wood that could not be salvaged.
Williams told the Chronicle that the motivation behind his and Davis’ efforts was to save the city money and time.
Indeed, the city’s most recent issues with the building just outside Liberty Park will most likely require excavation under the old station in addition to other repairs.
Williams earlier this month told City Council the estimated cost to fix the remaining issues would be $50,000 to $100,000.
Earlier this month, Williams told his bosses that as the tenant’s new contractor prepared the building for move-in, he found problems with the old station’s electrical system as well as problems with the drainage of the water with back deck and gutter system and water collection issues. under the raised building.
Williams told the Chronicle that repair costs for the latest set of issues have been well over $40,000 so far. But he said he believed he could keep it under $100,000.
He said dismantling the long bridge and using city trucks to transport portions has bought the city time so other work can begin. He estimated the savings at several thousand dollars.
Williams was not the city manager when the old station was moved to its current location and renovated. The city paid $1.3 million for the structure as part of renovations to Inverness’s depot district.
These are just the latest issues Wheeler Construction LLC has reported to Williams.
In February, Wheeler reported to the city that the subfloor on the east side of the building was not the same height as that on the west side. To compound the problem, the subfloors were installed using square edge decking instead of tongue and groove decking.
Also, the subfloor was attached with nails instead of screws, and some of the nails weren’t in the existing floorboards because the existing boards are not butted.
Even when all of that is fixed and paid for, the city still has to pay another $255,300 in regards to the vacant building.
This is because the city left the building without finished toilets, ceilings, interior walls and floors in hopes of completing the installation when it leased the building.
The city council leases the renovated station to C&V Express Enterprises LLC. The company is made up of businesswomen Vickie Humphrey, of Inverness, and Caroline Jenkins, of Lecanto.
The two plan to build the Train Station Café and game room in the 3,600 square foot facility.
Part of the lease agreement states that the business must be open and operational by July 3.
Williams told the Chronicle he doesn’t think there will be any other issues that could arise, but he can’t be sure.
Also in city business, Williams hired Tampa-based law firm ERM last week to help the city navigate regulatory hurdles in plans to build a beach and swimming area in Wallace Brooks. at Henderson Lake.
The cost to the city for the legal work is $19,000 and will include handling Inverness’ regulatory requirements for the project.
He hired the company “just to keep us well represented,” Williams told the Chronicle. He said he hopes to build the beach this year. With inflation and material sourcing costs, Williams said he was unsure of the price of the proposed range.
As far as the beach is concerned, the town’s position is unique.
Originally wanting to build Liberty Park Beach, city staff earlier this year found a 60-year-old, long-forgotten document in their files. This is significant because the document is a record of a public dedication by Florida of the Lake Henderson submerged lands to the town of Wallace Brooks Park and for the town to grow.
Typically, the state owns submerged land, but in this rare case, the city owns a strip of land under water along the park.
Williams said the Tampa law firm previously handled a similar situation for another city in Florida.
Williams said members of the law firm were already visiting the proposed beach area on Thursday.
“They move pretty quickly,” he said.