Port Jervis News...

Issue 13 — October 21, 2021

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Port To Seek New Round Of Grant Money To Complete Sidewalk Project

By Jeremy Van Duyne

PORT JERVIS — A new course of action is being rolled out in order to see completion of the sidewalk replacement work on Pike Street.
In late 2019 the City of Port Jervis received a Community Development Bond Grant (CDBG) that would help improve sidewalks located on Pike Street.
The goal of the project was to make non-ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) sidewalks compliant with the ADA. The contract was set for two years with completion of the project aimed for October 15, 2021.
“This grant was awarded in late 2019,” said Valerie Maginsky, Director of the Community Development Agency for the City of Port Jervis. “This two-year contract for this $300,000 public facility CDBG to replace non-ADA compliant sidewalks with ADA compliant sidewalks concludes in December of 2021.”
Since that time however the project has suffered severe setbacks. The original plan of action was derailed in March of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, halting construction projects for the time being. The effects of the pandemic made things even worse as a shortage of materials and rising costs further slowed down progress.
Recently the CDA has been undergoing a bidding process for the work, only to find out that the costs of the project will likely go over the $300,000 covered by the grant.
With the contract set to expire later this year in December, this has left the city having to figure out what exactly is the best method moving forward in order to complete the project.
“Beginning in March of 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic caused wholesale shutdowns and subsequent and ongoing labor and material shortages,” said Maginsky. “As a result, construction schedules are elongated and the cost of projects have increase expediently.”
Maginsky gave a public presentation on the project at the latest Common Council meeting for the city held on Tuesday, October 12. She said that the CDA has developed three options in regards to the project: one, work with the contractor to stay within the budget at the expense of downscaling the project. An option that was not considered ideal given the cold weather season that lies ahead.
Another option involves asking for an extension on the contract. While ideal on the surface, she says that the uncertainty involving COVID’s lasting impact have made the option less ideal as they expand upon the possibilities. “With October and possible cold weather on the horizon, this option would require DPW realignment and raise complication with the pouring of cold weather concrete.”
“Keeping all conditions constant, the possibility of pursuing an extension and a construction rebid was floated. Due to the ongoing effects of COVID, there is no guarantee that the same situation would not repeat itself within the coming year.”
Maginsky and the CDA recommended the third option: the city de-obligates the grant and reapplies at the next opportunity. Maginsky says that a bigger pot of money could be available in the next round of grants and that work done on the previous grant can carry forward over to the next one.
The council ultimately took the CDA’s recommendation and voted in favor of the pursuing that option.