City will bear cost of balcony replacement 6/19/2015

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 19, 2015

City will bear cost of balcony replacement

By John Howell
Batesville aldermen meeting Tuesday voted unanimously to pay for the cost of the removal and reinstallation of the balcony at the C. G. Baker Building on the Public Square.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is requiring that the structure be removed prior to starting the downtown project that will be partially financed through its Transportation Enhancement Grant. Aldermen last month awarded the project to replace sidewalks, realign parking and for lighting and landscaping improvements to the northeast corner of the square to Pavecon Ltd. for its low bid of $636,125.55. The MDOT grant will provide $420,000 of the funding.

 Building owner Charlie Gaines Baker requested that the city bear the removal/reinstallation cost and to “grandfather” the “design, dimension and placement” of the balcony.
“I want to come back with exactly what I have,” Baker told city officials. “The same steel, the same design, everything just like it is.”

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“We’re going to be putting black poles all over town. Have you ever considered painting it black?” Alderman Stan Harrison asked.

“I’ll certainly be sensitive to the decor of the rest of the square because I’m a proponent of doing anything to bring the Square to the highest standards we possibly can,” Baker said. “I think that will be to everybody’s benefit.”

Baker said that he had received in 2014 a verbal estimate that the cost of removal and reinstallation would be between $7,500 and $8000. He said that his cost to renovate the structure would be $15,000 to $20,000.

Further discussion included the methods to be used remove the balcony.

Wastewater treatment superintendent David Karr said that Hemphill Construction Company presently has a 30-ton-capacity mobile crane at the sewage treatment plant on Panola Avenue.
“Y’all might want to see if they can take it down cheaper than anybody,” Karr said.

The aldermen’s vote approving Baker’s request was taken with understanding that they would later vote on at least two quotes obtained for the balcony’s removal and reinstallation.