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Port Huron to spend $834K to repair parking structure at city hall

Rendering courtesy of Infuz Architects. An architectural vision of a future MOC after being turned into condos.

By Jim Bloch

In an effort to prevent what went up from coming down, the city of Port Huron will spend $833,935 to repair the parking structure at the municipal office center.

At its regular meeting June 24, the city council voted unanimously to award the contract for the work to low bidder Ram Construction Services of Livonia.

Ram’s bid was about $250,000 lower than that of Pullman SST, Inc., of Trenton, which came in at $1,105,750. Browning Chapman, LLC of Westfield, IN, was high at $2,729,048.

“The project consists of concrete repairs, post tensioning cable repair, and waterproofing of the northeastern corner of the structure,” said City Manager James Freed in his memo to Mayor Pauline Repp and the council.

The city budgeted $1.5 million for the repairs.

“We got some pretty competitive bids,” said Freed, as heard on the recording of the meeting posted on the city’s website. “So it came in under budget.”

The work is part one of a two-phase project.

“As you probably remember … we have concrete literally falling on patrol cars,” Freed said. “There’s chunks of concrete in walkable pathways. This is to mitigate the immediate safety issues. This is a tension cable building. A lot of the tension cables are snapped down there and must be repaired to make sure the building doesn’t crack and collapse over time.”

Freed said that the contractor was likely to find other problems in the parking structure once repairs begin, increasing the cost.

“We’re also trying to address water leakage within storage for the police department,” Freed said.

The building is for sale.

“For those in the community who (wonder) why are we investing money in a building we know voters approved to sell — we aren’t ready to leave yet,” said Freed. “We haven’t found a place to go. We can’t ignore these issues – it’s a safety issue. The purchase price of city hall just went up about $833,000, for those who are interested.”

“James, when do you anticipate Phase II?” asked Mayor Pro Tem Sherry Archibald.

“When we can afford it,” said Freed. “Hopefully, in the next two to three years.”

The parking structure has not seen any significant repair work for 14 years.

“Based on general observations of the condition of the structure in 2020, the Department of Public Works requested a proposal from Walker Consultants – a building and structural engineering firm — to perform a condition assessment,” said Freed in his memo. Walker drew up the construction plans and estimated the cost of both phases of repair at $2.8 million.

The city advertised the project on the Michigan Intergovernmental Trade Network and on the city’s website.

The final vote was 6-0. Council member Conrad Haremza was absent.

Jim Bloch is a freelance writer based in St. Clair, Michigan. Contact him at bloch.jim@gmail.com. 

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