New roof on the way

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By Jesse Osbourne

A new roof is on the way for the Robertson building downtown. It comes with a nearly $44,000 price tag that the tourism commission will pay.

“The building can be great things for the community,” Laurie Smith, city administrator, said. “We’re looking at a lot of potential in terms of grant availability, and where we can do some great things for our community.”
The city received the building as a gift recently, and the city council has been discussing the possibility of fixing the leaking roof.
The city received three bids to repair the roof. The lowest bid was originally $36,777 from Insulated Roofing Contractors, a company that has completed other roofing jobs in downtown Springfield.
The bid didn’t include the proper amount of insulation that the state required, so it was renegotiated.
With the added insulation, the new bid was still the lowest at $43,777.
General Builders bid the project at $44,275, while Tri-State Roofing and Sheet Metal bid $51,920.
According to Smith, the tourism commission had originally agreed to pay up to $30,000 for the cost of a new roof.
“Since, obviously, this is considerably more, with winter upon us, we felt like it was extremely important that we go ahead and meet on this and make a decision,” Smith said. “Insulated Roofing officials tell us that they can begin almost immediately upon approval.”
The tourism commission met prior to the special-called city council meeting on Friday to get assurance from Insulated Roofing about the new roof.
The commission agreed to fund the project, contingent that part of the building be used for tourism-related activities, according to Smith.
“I feel very confident in telling them that we’re 99 percent sure that anything the grants (to fund renovation) are going to allow will have to be tourism-related,” Smith said.
Dr. John Isaacs, Jr., a member of the tourism commission, pointed out that the money would revert to a loan instead of a gift if the building were not used for tourism-related activities.
“The city will have to pay the tourism commission back if we can not turn it into a tourism property,” he said.
Mayor Dr. John Cecconi asked if the whole building had to be used for tourism purposes.
Isaacs and other tourism commission members assured the council that only part of the building would have to be used for tourism.
Smith said Insulated Roofing could start on the project this week, pending on weather.
She said big plans are in the works for the building.
“We see no reason why we can’t be a Berea, with what we have going on with the college,” she said. “There’s no reason why that can’t happen here. Your dreams have to start somewhere.”
Lisa Haydon made the motion to award the contract to Insulated Roofing. Willie Ellery seconded the motion. Debbie Wakefield was absent from the meeting.
The next regular meeting will be on Dec. 12 at 5 p.m. at City Hall.