Concerns with E.C. contractor nix Hammond demolition project pact

2012-11-17T18:09:00Z 2012-11-19T00:52:05Z Concerns with E.C. contractor nix Hammond demolition project pactChelsea Schneider Kirk chelsea.schneider@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | Reports of performance issues with an East Chicago-based contractor were aired as the Hammond Redevelopment Commission chose a company to demolish an old train slab.

The company, Actin/Tri Contracting, LLC, was the low bidder for the contract at $126,300, but commissioners instead awarded the work to another contractor for $317,000.

The project will demolish an old concrete slab that once served as a rail loading area at 173rd Street and Lyman Avenue. The elevated slab is considered a safety issue because it is near homes.

The consulting engineer on the project presented commissioners a letter listing issues with Actin on another demolition project in the city.

In the letter, John Blosky, of Amereco, Inc., tells commissioners that Actin fell 15 days behind schedule during the demolition of a property on Conkey Street.

Blosky also said he doesn't believe the timetable of 15 to 20 days the company proposes for the slab project is achievable.

Actin's bid also came in at approximately half of the engineering estimate for the project.

Commissioners unanimously approved awarding the project to GE Marshall, which was the second lowest of the three bids submitted for the project. Based on GE Marshall's past performance and documentation the company included in its bid, Blosky told commissioners he believes the project's timeline will be met, according to the letter.

Funding Hammond receives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is paying for the project.

“Due to the short timeline associated with the HUD-funded project, time is of the essence to complete the work and submit the required HUD and city of Hammond close-out documentation,” according to Blosky's letter.

Actin owner Michael Lopez Sr., said he thinks his company didn't get the contract because of a “personal issue” between the engineering firm and himself.

“I've had issues with that particular engineering firm,” Lopez said. “I don't buy that. If the city wants to pay extra money for that, that's their business, and that's quite a bit.”

Besides the Conkey Street project, the city also has run into issues with the company regarding demolition of the Hammond Masonic Temple and the former Wonder Bread bakery, said David Westland, the Redevelopment Commission's attorney.

Jimmie Lambert, the commission's president, said she remembers instances where it, “cost the city more money in the long run by choosing this contractor.”

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