Downtown Streetscape

Kent Osborne of Vermillion snapped this aerial photo a few days ago of the progress that’s been made with the Vermillion Downtown Streetscape Project. This photo shows the intersection of Main and Market streets and the Ratingen Platz.

The Vermillion City Council approved a change order to the Downtown Streetscape Project at its Aug. 16 meeting that makes some small changes to the project’s design and gives more time to the main contractor, Schwartzle Construction, to complete the project.

The changes also increase the total cost of the project by slightly more than $140,000.

This request came as no surprise to city council members last month. In late May, the city council considered an agenda item at a regular meeting that would allow Schwartzle Construction to continue with the streetscape project with some proposed changes to the transition areas in the project’s design adjacent to the sidewalks.

The city council agreed to this anticipating that an official change order would come later and mid-August was that time.

A change order in the work presented to the city council by City Engineer Jose Dominguez in mid-August consists of four items:

1. Reduction of the slope in the transition areas adjacent to the sidewalks (this was discussed at the May 27th meeting);

2. Work required to close the undisclosed window wells going to basements (this happened at 5 E. Main, 2 W. Main, 4 W. Main, 10 W. Main, 12 W. Main, and 16 W. Main);

3. Redesign of spread footings for the new streetlights; and

4. The replacement of some water main fittings at Church and Main Streets.

“In addition to the monetary value of all of these change orders, the contractor is also requesting extensions on his time for the project,” Dominguez said. “He’s asking for 20 days additional for substantial completion and 20 days additional for the final completion.”

This means, he said, if the request is approved by the city council that the project’s substantial completion would be from Sept. 1 to Sept. 21.

The Downtown Streetscape Project’s final completion would be moved back from Oct. 31 to Nov. 25. The additional days are only for the work mentioned in the change order and not for any weather-related delays.

Those requests were given city council approval.

The City originally had planned for a project that will cost $2,976,602. This is only for the construction of the project and does not include consultant fees, construction administration, and testing. The change order approved Aug. 16 increases the cost by $143,249.84 to $3,119,851.84.

The City originally had planned for a project that will cost $2,976,602. This is only for the construction of the project and does not include consultant fees, construction administration, and testing. The change order approved last month increases the cost by $143,249.84 to $3,119,851.84.

The additional cost associated with the change order is split the following way:

Reduction of transition area slope: $82,872; additional work to cover undisclosed window wells: $42,884.09; redesign of spread footings for new streetlights: $11,163.75; and replacement of water main fittings at Church and Main streets: $6,330.

This increases the total cost of the Streetscape Project by $143,249.84. The 2021 budget will be revised this month to accommodate the increase due to this change order.

Since 2004, the businesses in downtown Vermillion and the City have been working to improve the Main Street area. Besides improving building facades and the additions of the Pocket Park and Ratingen Platz, the community has been working to complete a streetscape project that would tie Main Street together and serve as a framework to showcase the downtown area.

In January 2020, the City created Business Improvement District #2 (BID). This BID was created with the intent to provide a funding mechanism and to bring forward a streetscape plan for downtown Vermillion. The BID #2 Board is comprised of four downtown business owners and one downtown resident.

The City entered into a contract with Stockwell Engineers for the design and development of the construction documents on April 20, 2020. The agreement with Stockwell was amended on March 1 to include construction administration and staking.

Last March, the City awarded the construction project to Schwartzle Construction for $2,976,602. This was $330,990.50 lower than the engineer’s estimate.

On May 27, 2021, the City Council considered an agenda item that allowed Schwartzle to continue with the project with the proposed changes to the transition areas adjacent to the sidewalks. The City Council agreed to this anticipating that the official change order would come later.

Council member Rich Holland asked Dominguez why the light pole bases are being changed. “Is it because it wouldn’t work before?” he asked.

“For the majority of the project, we actually have a storm sewer line that runs very close to the light footings,” the city engineer replied. “When we relocated them, they were located pretty much on top of this pipe. It’s not that we didn’t know it was there, it’s just that sometimes we don’t know how close we are going to be to it until we actually start digging that all up.”

Once the pipe was exposed, it was discovered that a typical light pole footing wouldn’t work because it would be too close. A different style of footing will be used in the project.

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