City Hall ‘completely failed’ Empire Avenue neighbors |

City Hall ‘completely failed’ Empire Avenue neighbors

Jay Hamburger The Park Record

People who live or have properties along Empire Avenue remain displeased with the progress made this year as City Hall-hired crews continue with a major redo of the Old Town street.

The project was expected to be finished in 2012 when the work started, but the completion has been delayed until next year. Both City Hall and the neighbors are disappointed with the work of the contractor, Condie Construction Company, claiming that the delays have mounted.

At a recent City Hall-organized open house, people along Empire Avenue expressed their dismay with the work. One of the people at the event broached the idea of compensation to the residents since the completion has been delayed.

Matt Cassel, the Park City engineer, and the staffer overseeing the work for the municipal government, said City Hall will not provide compensation to the neighbors. He said any damages collected by City Hall would be needed by the municipal government since the project will take longer than expected.

In an interview, Cassel said City Hall is unable to compensate the neighborhood.

"The city simply cannot do that," Cassel said. "They can carry it up to Council and be told ‘No’ by Council."

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Park City Councilman Andy Beerman, who attended the open house, agreed with the city engineer that City Hall cannot compensate the neighborhood. Beerman apologized on behalf of City Hall for the delays.

The original deadline for completion was Nov. 1 City Hall has said for weeks that the crews fell behind and cannot make up the time in 2012. Two of four stretches of Empire Avenue are expected to be complete this year while the other two will be finished in 2013, City Hall has said.

Condie Construction Company won an approximately $2.8 million deal for the work. The firm was not represented at the open house, Cassel said. It had been informed of the event, he said. Cassel said City Hall cannot attempt to tap money from a performance bond that it holds since Condie Construction Company is continuing the work and paying subcontractors.

According to Cassel, a water line and permanent road paving will not be finished on Empire Avenue between Manor Way and 9th Street. The water line and permanent paving also will not be finished on Manor Way between Empire Avenue and Lowell Avenue.

He said City Hall and Condie Construction Company are readying to stop work for the year "in a clean manner." The crews will restart in the spring. City Hall anticipates the work will last nine weeks once it restarts next year. A timeline posted on City Hall’s website indicates the crews will stop working on Thursday. They will start again April 15, depending on the weather.

Cassel said it could be painful for the neighborhood if City Hall removed the firm from the project, saying it would take a new one time to prepare to take over. He said the original firm could also take legal action against the municipal government.

Approximately 10 people attended the recent open house, held at the Park City Library and Education Center. Cassel fielded questions about the progress and the contractor. Some of the people who spoke were visibly unhappy and spoke in stern voices. Several shook their heads, seeming to be in exasperation, as Cassel spoke.

Ted King, who lives on Empire Avenue and is building a house on the street, said the roadwork delays cost him a "ton of money" as he is building a house on the 1100 block of the street.

"The city failed us. The city completely failed us," he said.

Another person who lives nearby took a more conciliatory approach, saying that Empire Avenue will be improved from before once the project is finished. Gabe Jaramillo, who lives in a Woodside Avenue condominium building that borders Empire Avenue, said it has been dusty in the neighborhood. Still, he said, he looks forward to the redone road.

"They’re working on it. It will be nice when it’s done," Jaramillo said.

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