Convention center bids arrive high

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 25, 2000

Bids for construction of a downtown convention center received last week are higher than anticipated.

Natchez Board of Aldermen voted Tuesday to take the bids under advisement and plan to make an award at its Nov. 14 meeting.

Johnny Waycaster, project architect, presented the board with &uot;certified bid tabs&uot; that summarize the bids received, but negotiations are still underway.

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&uot;(The bids) were higher than expected, but well within the 10 percent negotiable range,&uot; Waycaster said.

&uot;We are hopeful and optimistic we can negotiate without affecting the quality of the project,&uot; he said.

Waycaster is part of a city-appointed panel who collected a total of 56 bids on 12 different construction packages for the convention center last week. The bid packages range from general construction to elevator installation.

Normally, the board opens bids and turns them over to respective departments for a recommendation, but because of the number of bids expected, the panel method was chosen.

Also at the meeting, the board:

— Upheld a 60-day moratorium on solicitations at city intersections until regulations can be researched and instituted.

Theresa Peters and Karen Hutkins of A.B.A.T.E., a non-profit group that raises money for various causes, asked the board for permission to hold a &uot;red light drive&uot; on Nov. 11.

Peters said the annual drive had been scheduled for more than a year and notice has already gone out to members around the state.

City Attorney Walter Brown and Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff advised the board not to make an exception for A.B.A.T.E. out of fairness to other worthy causes who have been denied permission, and because a liability release form submitted by the group is not legally binding.

— Awarded a $109,800 bid to E-Z-Go/Textron for a 36-month lease on 50 golf carts for Duncan Park, with an option to buy 10 seasonal carts for $7,800.

— Approved a policy to prohibit new construction within 100 feet of the bluff and construction of swimming pools within 200 feet of the bluff. Both restrictions are precluded by geotechnical studies or special precautions that may prevent damage to bluff stabilization.

— Proclaimed Sat., Oct. 28 as the Mayor’s Youth Council Make a Difference Day. The Rally Against Racism will be held at 1 p.m. at Main Street Marketplace.

— Reappointed Sam Gwin to another term on the Natchez Housing Authority, which expires Nov. 14.

— Heard the report of City Attorney Brown who asked the aldermen review the scope of work prepared by metropolitan planning firm Christopher Chadbourne and Associates.

Brown asked the aldermen to prioritize those studies they would like to seen undertaken and submit the forms to him by next week.

— Agreed to meet with Adams County Board of Supervisors and the National Park Service Nov. 2 to discuss the path of the Trace Parkway extension.