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(rshsdepot) Tyler, TX

By: LAURA JETT KRANTZ, Staff Writer February 03, 2003=20
Again stalled by paperwork in January, the Cotton Belt Depot renovation
project seems to be back on track=2E

After opening bids for the project in December, city of Tyler officials
anticipated a recommendation to the council in January with construction
beginning soon afterward=2E But Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)=

representatives told the city to wait=2E

The majority of the project is to be funded through a TxDOT Enhancement
Grant=2E Officials said TxDOT will provide $334,368 with an $83,592 match
from the city, or whatever the project costs beyond the grant amount=2E

"This is not city money, so we had to play by their rules," city of Tyler
Project Coordinator Bill Ward said=2E "TxDOT said we had to wait until we
heard from them, and I just got a letter releasing the project, so we will=

be doing that in February=2E"

TxDOT Advance Project Engineer Dale Booth said the funds for the depot
project come from the Surface Transportation Program, which is federally
funded with specific guidelines=2E The bids and architect estimates had to=
reviewed and approved in Austin=2E

"Basically, they weren't approved to award that project until Jan=2E 21,"
Booth said=2E

The city opened five bids in December, which ranged from a base bid of
$348,950 to $421,000=2E Each bid also included a bid bond and change-order=

percentage, an estimated time of completion, as well as an alternate bid
for companies also chosen for the park renovation=2E Bids for the park
renovation ranged from $93,000 to $123,000=2E

Ward said a recommendation will be made to the council in February, with
construction beginning from 30 to 60 days after the bid is approved=2E

Architect Mike Butler of Fitzpatrick-Butler Architects told the city
council during an October meeting, there had been considerable discussion
among various agencies about the future of the building=2E Work has been a=
t a
standstill since 2000=2E

"There's a lot of paperwork that has gone behind on this," he said=2E "A l=
of agencies have had to sign off on this=2E"

The renovation would complete the first two phases of the project=2E

The first phase focused on stabilizing the structure and the exterior so
there was no more deterioration, Butler said=2E During the second phase, w=
was done to restore the windows and the infrastructure of the interior of
the east side of the building, including plumbing and electrical systems=2E=

The renovation would finish the installation of the plumbing and electrica=
fixtures, as well as the air-conditioning system on the west side of the
building, and completely restore the east side of the building=2E A parkin=
lot will also be added across the railroad tracks to the east=2E=20

"When this phase is complete, somebody should be able to occupy the
building," Butler said=2E

The plan calls for the west side of the building to house Tyler Transit bu=
service offices and the east side of the building to be used for meeting

Laura Jett Krantz covers Tyler city government, planning and zoning,
federal courts, and the Parks Board=2E She can be reached at 903=2E596=2E6=
e-mail: news_@_tylerpaper=2Ecom

=A9Tyler Morning Telegraph 2003 =20

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