Aldermen accept bid for Booker T gym project
After years of discussion, setbacks and disappointments, the supporters of the Booker T. Washington gym renovation project finally got their wish.
The Mayor and Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a contract during their Jan. 4 meeting to do the project. Perry Construction Co. had the lowest bid at $703,700. Its base bid was $597,300. Also, Perry listed $58,400 for Alternate No. 1 for the doors and windows and $48,000 for Alternate No. 2 for brick restoration.
Aldermen voted to pay for the project with money the city has received from the American Rescue and Planning Act (ARPA). If that money cannot be used for some reason, the city would pay the bill out of savings and the General Fund, officials said.
Ward 1 Alderman Justin Clearman led the final charge.
“I’m tired of the red tape,” Clearman said. “What is it going take to get Booker T. taken care of and move on? We know how much it is going to cost. We have the bid sheets here. I have read through the ARPA materials. I believe there are criteria here that Booker T. would qualify for these funds. We have ARPA funds on hand right now that are in a separate account.
“In every board meeting I have been to, we have been kicking the can down the road. If it were up to me, I would write a $700,000 check out of that account now and say go fix Booker T. What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Clearman said.
Ward 2 Alderman Jim Fulton said that the money would come out of the General Fund if it doesn’t qualify for the ARPA funds.
“This city has been promising for 20 years to do something about Booker T.,” Clearman said. “I’m willing to take the gamble. Let’s spend the $700,000 and get Booker T. fixed.”
Clearman made the motion to accept Perry Construction’s bid. Ward 3 Alderman James Tatum seconded it. And the motion passed.
Mayor James A. Young was absent because of a family illness. Mayor Pro-tem Fulton presided over the meeting.
In other actions, aldermen:
• Approved paying CommSouth $92,426 for the Police department’s new MSWIN radios/system.
• Approved paying CommSouth $114,999 for the Fire Department’s new MSWIN radios/system.
• Approved the purchase of one Paratech Multiforce bag kit for $9,987 through Task Force Grant, which is reimbursable.
• Approved the purchase of one Paratech US&R Lift Bag Kit at $22,557 through Task Force Grant, which is reimbursable.
• Approved payment of the following invoices, which are 90% reimbursable through a Viking Metal DIP Grant: Central MS Recycling — $4,900; All South Construction — $2,784.05; and Barrett Enterprises — $3,600.
• Approved the board minutes from the previous meeting and approved the claims docket.