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Downtown and Winter Weather


Date posted - November 6, 2013


So winter is here, and downtown Sheldon is still not finished. Will the snow melt away in the next few days……maybe. But what if it doesn’t? What if the temps are below freezing until March/April? What does the city plan to do for the businesses if those streets are left the way they are until spring? Someone has some explaining to do, and it starts with the contractor.

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17 Responses to “Downtown and Winter Weather”

  1. Downtown says:

    Small town projects always take forever

  2. Meets says:

    To me it’s not the contractor. He is doing his job. Was there a time frame? Was there a set date in the contract/bid pack. How about we start with the council amd ask them these questions. Sure it is tough for business people but our council I believe voted this through so therefor in my mind it starts in the 2nd floor council room.

    • Aaron, not from Sheldon says:

      Good thinking, Meets. You seem to have quite a grasp on how bid contracts work at the government level.
      Now for the rest of us -
      The contractor obviously is not doing his job. While the weather was great for work, the contractor pulled out of town for 3 weeks to get a project done for the DOT from last year.
      There are performance bonds for times like these and I’m certain the City Manager/Administrator, City Attorney, and the Council are looking at pursuing the contractor’s bond.
      And there are end dates with penalties if the contractor fails to finish the work in a timely manner that the City can pursue.
      I assure you, this isn’t Sheldon’s first rodeo.

    • Johnboy says:

      It was my understanding that it was suppose to be done by Nov.1……contractor also left for a week or 2 because they were “ahead in the job”.

  3. Shelly says:

    This is what happens when you take the lowest bid. Cheaper isn’t always better.

    • Aaron, not from Sheldon says:

      you are absolutely right. unfortunately, as the commenter below noted, the City is bound by law to take the low bidder.
      there is a lot of money paid to the engineer to make sure the lowest bidder does the job correctly.
      there are penalties and bonds issued to make sure the lowest bidder does the job in a timely manner.
      unfortunately, we’re dealing with a slow-poke and i’m sure the City will get some money back on this deal. i’m sure everyone involved wishes it wouldn’t have come to this, especially since the street-scape was such a controversial issue.

      • RR says:

        The city will get some money back but what about the businesses that have to put up with more weeks of very slow sales. I have heard nothing but negative comments about the whole situation.

  4. biker says:

    Not sure about the city but most generally govt bid work is almost always low bidder awarded contract. Also were there any unknowns when starting this job….extra digging, say old brick road was more than expected, waiting for electrical work for lights, just a few things that come to my mind. All in due time things or work will get done.

    • You know, check out the “live” stream and see that the contractors are still working! It looks like they are trying to get the job finished. And, speaking of getting the lowest bid, governmental policies about “lowest bid” are implemented for a reason. Remember that the City is using our money to do this project and the City is trying to make the budget stretch to cover all of its projects and other costs.

  5. Rebecca Niemeyer Rens says:

    Normally, I would not participate in this type of online discussion because I think it generally facilitates negativity rather than encouragement. However, because of the myriad of gifted and dedicated people working on this project, I felt compelled to comment.

    The City of Sheldon has many beautiful old store fronts and is rich with history. Unfortunately, some of that history was buried beneath the downtown streets and sidewalks and was not disclosed to the Contractor by the City or the Engineer in the plans and specifications that the project was bid from.

    Many coal chutes were found which affected the old and fragile foundations of the stores. As this was not a part of Rens’ contract, the City hired Poppema-Sikma to fix these. Poppema-Sikma has done a fabulous job of being creative and cooperative. They have attempted to get on site as quickly as possible when these unknown chutes are discovered. And obviously, this work must be complete before any sidewalks can be poured in those areas.

    Other undisclosed obstacles have included gas line issues, foundations in the middle of the street, lead pipe issues, underground window openings, a manhole in an intersection that had deteriorated to the point of almost non-existence. Two of Rens sub-contractors, Farmers Market and Cleveringa Excavating, were taken away from their originally contracted work to help solve these unknown problems. Farmers Market and Cleveringa have been cooperative and have implemented their own crews and equipment to become a part of the solutions while they put aside the work they were actually there to do.

    And now, an entire underground void has been found along two sides of one block corner. The void is deep and contains doors and windows indicating that there were businesses that existed on a level below the current main street. As I said, a rich history and so interesting. Unfortunately, an undisclosed obstacle that now requires some creative construction and dirt work before sidewalks can be poured.

    And just to correct some miss-information in an earlier comment, Rens Concrete did NOT have DOT work that they were finishing up from last year. A quick call to the IDOT will confirm this. Also, while our concrete crew did leave the site, our subs continued with the removals, subgrade prep. and utility work – all of which needs to be performed before the concrete can be poured. The City was provided with a schedule and we were back on the site as per that schedule. And, it is true, Rens Concrete was the low bidder. The 2nd and only other bid the City received was approximately $175,000.00 higher than ours. That also can be confirmed.

    Rens’ Concrete wants to express our appreciation to the kind store owners and community members who have taken the time to encourage our crews – most of whom are working 60-70 hour weeks in unexpectedly adverse October conditions. We also want to thank Farmers Market, Cleveringa Excavating and Poppema-Sikma and our own men for their quality work and commitment to this project. And, even though lighting and gas are the City’s responsibility, Rens would like to thank Craig and his crew from Mid-America for being so flexible and competent during the many debacles encountered. Only those people who have gotten their hands dirty in the work of this project can understand the challenges and I am thankful for you.

    Rens Concrete is not a “slow poke”. We are trying to complete a project that has proven to be altered in design and disclosure from the as bid plans. It is truly our desire to provide improved streets, parking and access for the Store Owners and the shoppers in the downtown area so that they will hopefully experience increased convenience and an enriched economy.

    • Dave Popkes says:

      yes there was some issues that the project ran into, and we were expecting, but these are being taken into account. There are some issues with the quality of the sidewalk surface, {not those that Farmers Market did} they were good. cracks along the buildings. There is the issue of days not working, small crews working, and damage caused by the excavator and cat to the water shutoffs. These will all be taken into account at the projects end.

      • Dave Popkes says:

        It is not the place to rectify these issues in the public eye, because there are too many variables on the project that affect the outcome.

        • Dave Popkes says:

          There are way too many people speculating about what goes on at the city level. What you are failing to take into account is that what ever goes on in the city, is overlooked by auditors, and the State. There have been several times that the administration has been asked to go to the league of cities at the state level and ask to show other cities how we are doing the administration of the activities of the city, because the city administration is doing such a good job. Our budgets have been in the black, even when the money is tight, and every year we pay off bonds and loans early. Each year the audits have no areas which are incorrect, and they are impressed with how we are doing. So what I am trying to say is that there is a lot of information that a lot of people do not have, and the city is not able to explain with out wrighting a book. They try to communicate the information that they can, and if you want more to look up, go to all the meetings and the library where it is written down for the public to see.

      • Paving Machine says:

        In response to your comment on the quality of sidewalks, please take the following into account: Most people would like to see a nicely sealed, lightly broomed walking path in front of their place of business. However, the mix designs being used, specified by the engineers, include air entrainment. Air entrainment is more or less millions of microscopic air bubbles that allow moisture, when frozen, to expand into these bubbles preventing aggregate in the concrete to “pop out”. When air entrained concrete is over-finished and troweled to a super smooth finish prior to texturing, these air entrainment bubbles are worked to the surface. When concrete goes through freeze/thaw cycles with such a heavy concentration of “air” in the top layer, you are more likely to see scaling and peeling of the surface. I assure you that the concrete finishing techniques used by Rens Concrete were standard practice and will provide for a structurally sound walk way for many years.

  6. Meets says:

    Rebecca ….Thank you to YOU and your business. At least someone (say council) is willing to put there name on here and explain these situations at hand!

  7. sunshine says:

    Well said Rebecca.
    Thank You for explaining. :)

  8. TheDutchmen says:

    Thanks Rebecca, and Thanks Rens Concrete, don’t listen to the Obama-voters that are always complaining about issues they have no clue about.

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