The Arnolt Corp. building on Durbin Street in Warsaw is pictured. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
The Arnolt Corp. building on Durbin Street in Warsaw is pictured. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
With all seven bids for the demolition of the former Arnolt Corp. building reviewed since the last Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety meeting, the lowest was accepted by the Board Friday.

Warsaw Community Economic and Development Director Jeremy Skinner said city engineer Aaron Ott reviewed the bids and all were in compliance. He recommended the bid from Green Demolition Contractors Inc., Chicago, for $178,800 be accepted as it was the lowest.

“So we are requesting you to award that bid and you should have the contract, so we are requesting you to award that bid and approve the contract for this project,” he said. “Again, the time frame that we’re trying to get this done so they can start construction on the affordable family housing development yet this year. The sooner we can get this contract in their hands to get their notice to start, the better.”

The other bids were: Saber Demolition Corp., Warners, N.Y., $370,000; Dore & Associates, Bay City, Mich., $292,300; Chuck Shane Excavating, Akron, $198,000; Kreager Group Inc., Fort Wayne, $247,690; Advanced Excavating & Demolition LLC, Macon, Ohio, $217,750; and Baumann Enterprises, Garfield Heights, Ohio, $368,000.

Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer said it was nice to get a number of bids and bids that were more payable than they thought they were going to get “in this day and age of bidding.”

Skinner said the bids were competitive and three or four of them were in a similar price range.

Board member George Clemens asked, “I assume we did all of our due diligence to make sure they can keep on the schedule you want and all that, right?”

Skinner replied, “Yeah, some of it is up in the air because there are environmental issues on the properties. Step one was to do the initial environmental investigation, which is being done by (Environmental Protection Agency) and (Indiana Finance Authority). Once that’s done, which they’ve done most of it, I think they’re still waiting on some samples to come back on the concrete for some oil leaks, but once that’s done, then they can go in and demo the building down to the foundation, remove that concrete then they have to do some soil testing in order to finish the demolition.”

Some coordination has to occur between Green and the environmental company that was hired by the EPA, he said, “so it’s going to take a little bit of time, but hopefully they’ll get that done in the next couple of months and the construction can start.”

Clemens made a motion to approve the recommendation of Green, Thallemer seconded it and it was approved 2-0. Board member and City Councilman Jeff Grose was absent.

Thallemer then said he wanted to “clear up something about the EPA money. I think there was a confusing email sent out or just a release by (Michiana Area Council of Governments) that project had been awarded like half a million dollars.”

He asked Skinner to explain that. Skinner said, “So, I believe MACOG has gotten a second grant application from the EPA. They initially did the first grant application two or three years ago.”

MACOG was awarded a grant, Skinner said, and they are the administrater of that grant for the entire region. Each region, or each city, town, county, etc., who has an issue can go to MACOG and say they’d like to use some of those funds to investigate a site. Skinner said the city of Warsaw did that for the Arnolt, Gatke and former Detroit Street gas station sites.

“So some of that money that was awarded to MACOG through the EPA did help us in doing some assessment,” not cleanup, he said.

Thallemer said that was the first traunch that came from the EPA through MACOG about three years ago.

“So the second traunch is where the confusion occurred,” he said.

Skinner said the second traunch is kind of the same scenario, and the city does have some projects they may end up talking to MACOG about.

“But that money that we were awarded, through the state, is a completely different grant from the EPA. It has nothing to do with the MACOG grant,” Skinner said.

Thallemer said, “And MACOG sent out kind of a commercial, if you will, for this grant that it was available and they used Warsaw as the poster child for the type of projects they were looking for, so we didn’t receive a second grant. We didn’t receive a half million. We didn’t use any money for demolition. It was just purely that we have received that type of grant early on. But this latest piece that got out ... that we got half a million for demolition, that’s not correct. So, just wanted to clarify that.”

He said the city was very appreciative that MACOG was able to obtain those grants for its four-county organization and the city was able to take advantage of those early on and hopefully will in the future.

In other business, the Board approved:

• Pay application No. 1 for $98,192.25 to G & G Hauling & Excavating for the Center Lake restoration.

• Pay application No. 1 for $19,798 to G & G Hauling & Excavating for the Kelly Park pond restoration project, primarily for materials purchased. The work is scheduled to mobilize June 13.

• Pay application No. 6 for $14,757.78 to HRP Construction Inc. for the McKinley Street storm sewer improvements.

• Pay applications Nos. 1 and 2 for $63,148.12 to Wessler Engineering for sanitary sewer rehabilitation.

• A contract with VS Engineering for $3,431.76 for construction administration for the Country Club Lane extension improvements.

• All quotes submitted for asphalt materials for the remainder of 2022, as requested by the street department.

• The new hire/change in payroll report as presented by Human Resource Director Denny Harlan.

New hires include David Gagnon, GIS technician, Building and Planning Department, full-time at $23 per hour; Kevin Terrazas, part-time firefighter, fire territory, $15 per hour; Mikaela Bixler, CARES community health coordinator, fire territory, full-time, $24.04 per hour; Terry Keim, part-time laborer, public works, $17 per hour; Chad Bassett, probationary fireman, fire territory, full-time, $2,131.47 biweekly; and Matt Koldyke, probationary fireman, fire territory, full-time, $2,137.47 biweekly.

• A contract between Laughing Stock Productions and the Parks and Recreation Department for six clowns for balloon twisting and other entertainment for the Family Carnival from 6 to 9 p.m. July 29 at Central Park at a cost of $1,400.

• A travel request for Roy Navarro, Warsaw Police Department, to Michigan City for an INSROA annual meeting for a cost of $165.