A Logansport Finance Committee meeting this week highlighted progress on a new police station and the Erie Avenue project.
First, the committee decided to add an additional $40,000 into the police budget on Monday night. The additional money would pay for utilities at the former Longfellow Elementary School/juvenile detention center throughout 2022.
The city took ownership of the building from the state at the end of last year and intends to renovate it into a new police station.
Later on in the meeting, the committee discussed appropriating $110,000 from the public safety fund for Steinberger Construction, Inc., to complete scoping work on the Longfellow building. The scoping work will be completed within 90 days, and the City Council will look over the plans before deciding whether to move forward.
“What we’re doing, in simple terms here, is giving them $110,000 to give us some architect plans on what it might look like and what the total cost is going to be,” committee member Carl McPherson said.
If the council decides not to move forward with the plans, the city would owe Steinberger Construction $50,000 as a termination fee. However, committee members had no objections to moving forward with the project.
“I’m ready to start building, mayor,” McPherson said.
A resolution still needs to be drafted and voted on the by council members before any money is disbursed, but the move means the city is another step closer to the new police station.
The Erie Avenue project was also discussed at the finance meeting.
The city originally allocated $1.8 million toward the project, adding in some contingency items that were able to be taken out of the project if the cost rose too high. The project’s original goals were to repave Fifth Street to 18th Street, install new lighting and sidewalks, and plant trees along the road.
However, rising costs have required the city to make sacrifices.
“The bottom line is, (CrossRoad Engineers, P.C.) needs an additional $100,000,” McPherson said. “It’s up to the council whether we’re going to give it.”
CrossRoad Engineers is the engineering firm hired to draw blueprints for the project. The firm was able to bring the project’s price down from $2.23 million to $1.8 million, but some items had to be cut. There is also no extra room for contingencies.
McPherson said Melbourne Avenue to Fifth Street will only be milled and paved over. From Erie Avenue to Eighth Street, new underlay and asphalt will be used to rehabilitate the road, new sidewalks will be installed, and lighting conduits will be placed underground.
The plan for brand new lighting, however, hit a snag due to its price. Andrew Wolf, a vice president at CrossRoad, said new lighting could cost the city up to $300,000.
“We’re good to build the project as we have it, minus the lighting package,” Wolf said. “Essentially, we have three options for consideration for the lighting.”
Wolf said the first option is to add the lighting package back in with a buffer in case anything in the project runs over budget. This option would cost the city $350,000.
The second option would be for the city to add an additional $50,000 to $100,000 to the initial $1.8 million. This would allow the firm to add the lighting conduit back into the plan and retain a buffer in case anything else is over budget. However, the 26 light fixtures themselves are not included in that plan.
The third option is to stick with the current plan but cut the conduit and light fixtures out altogether. Wolf said if problems arose with this option, the firm would have to look into cutting costs in a different area of the project.
Committee members discussed choosing the second plan to ensure there are no more surprise costs down the road. The second plan would also ensure there is lighting infrastructure so new fixtures can be installed later.
There was some disagreement about the buffer amount. While McPherson advocated adding the full $100,000 to the project, committee member Jonathan Nelms argued that the committee should limit extra funds to $50,000.
The committee ultimately agreed that a resolution for the funds would be written to request up to $100,000.
“Hopefully it’s not needed at all,” committee member Dave Morris said.