By DAVID GREEN
Morenci city council turned to a firm from Ludington, Mich., to handle the demolition of the former Grange Hall and the abandoned residence to the south.
Among eight bids received, council went with the low bid of $25,000 from Smalley Construction to demolish two Orchard Street buildings.
Bids ranged as high as $62,500, a fact that caused councilor Leasa Slocum to ask why such a discrepancy exists.
Mayor Keith Pennington said the company was researched to make sure it was adequate to get the job done appropriately.
City supervisor Barney Vanderpool said Smalley Construction has its own in-house asbestos processing equipment. He believes that could make a difference in the bid prices.
Weather permitting, said city adminstrator/clerk Renée Schroeder, she expects demolition to be complete by the end of March. Final grading and seeding would depend on weather conditions.
The Grange Hall was constructed in 1923 and has been used for a variety of uses including a community center and dance instruction facility. The residence to the south had been rented by Van Havel Homes.
The demolition will allow Orchard Street to be widened in conjunction with the parking lot rehabilitation and expansion project. The $761,000 project includes CDBG infrastructure improvement grant of nearly $600,000.
GRANTS—The Morenci Fire Department is in line for $3,050 grant through the Michigan DNR for the purchase of brush fire masks, two radios and a replacement for the portable pump used on the Ranger vehicle. The department is required to make a 50 percent match.
The department will also receive a Public Safety Interoperability Communications grant to upgrade radios. The department will contribute 25 percent of the nearly $8,000 cost.
The radio upgrade project has been in the works for about five years, said fire chief Chad Schisler.