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Hidden cost – More Beacon change orders on agenda


Hidden cost – More Beacon change orders on agenda

Decatur City Hall.
Decatur City Hall

Decatur City Hall

The costs for the city’s Beacon Municipal complex continue to increase due to unexpected site conditions.

An item on tonight’s City Commission agenda shows that commissioners will be asked to consider a fourth change order for the project, which is expected to be completed by May 1. The municipal center will be located on West Trinity Place and will house city offices and also be the new headquarters of City Schools of Decatur.

According to materials published in advance of the commission meeting, the project will require an additional $153,000, the bulk of which – $72,500 – will cover the “storm water connection of (a) culvert at West Trinity Place.”

The original contract amount was $30.4 million. If commissioners approve this fourth change order, the contract will increase to a total of $32.24 million. The total project budget is $38.3 million.

Also, commissioners have a few other notable items on their agenda:

– Commissioners will consider authorizing City Manager Peggy Merriss to sign an agreement with the firm TSW for Phase 2 of the city’s zoning code rewrite, known as the Unified Development Ordinance. The contract amount is not to exceed $252,475.  Meeting documents also give an updated timeline on the UDO process.

“Phase 2 will utilize the public workshops and continuing public input to identify specific code changes that are appropriate the Decatur community,” Planning Director Amanda Thompson said in her letter to the city manager. “The UDO team will create a comprehensive draft Unified Development Ordinance for initial review in July of 2014. Work sessions with all boards and commissions will follow to create a second comprehensive draft for review by the City Commission in September of 2014.”

According to Decatur Metro, Commissioner Patti Garrett sent out an email and listed the upcoming UDO meeting dates as follows:

Community Character, Mar 12

Stormwater, Mar 26

Sustainability, April 16

Zoning Districts, April 23

– The commissioners will consider approving an agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation for a $1.3 million transportation enhancement grant that will pay for the Oakhurst Streetscape project. The grant will require a $325,000 match from the city. Once the process is completed, the city will begin advertising for bids on the project. The total cost is expected to be $2.5 million, with additional money coming from the city’s 2007 general obligation bond and sales tax money.

When completed, the streetscape will increase the overall size of Harmony Park. The project will transform the heart of Oakhurst at the intersections of Oakview Road, East Lake Drive, West Hill Street and West Benson Street. There will be new sidewalks, lighting and trees along these roads. It has been in the works for several years.

– There will be an update on plans to create a trail that will provide safer access for students walking from Olympic Place to Oakhurst Elementary. Currently the only option is to walk along West College Avenue, a busy and crowded road.

– Commissioners will consider approving easements for an apartment project at 160 Clairemont Avenue being developed by Paces Properties. “In addition to the required streetscape improvements along Commerce Drive, Paces is building a new sidewalk and providing trees and landscape improvements along Montgomery Street between Commerce and Clairemont, and installing new bike lanes on Commerce between Clairemont and West Ponce de Leon that are recommended by the City’s Community Transportation Plan,” a memo from assistant city manager Hugh Saxon says.

Tonight’s meeting kicks off with a 6:30 pm work session about updates to the city’s tree ordinance. Meetings are open to the public and are held at City Hall, located at 509 North McDonough Street in Decatur.