Robertson building needs a new roof, pronto

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By Jesse Osbourne

The roof of the newly-acquired Robertson building is ‘leaking like a sieve,’ according to city administrator Laurie Smith during the regular-scheduled city council meeting on Tuesday of last week.

Smith said the architect that is working with the city, free of charge, advised that a new roof be put on the building, and quick.
“The best news that we have is that we have some hope that grant money is, perhaps, available,” Smith said. “That being said, the grant money cannot possibly get here in time for the roof work. We did go ahead and accept proposals.”
The city received three proposals for installing a new roof on the historical building.
Insulated Roofing was the lowest bidder at $36,777. The same company has replaced or repaired several roofs in downtown Springfield.
Emanuel Ballard was the second lowest bid at $44,275. Tri-State Roofing was the highest bidder, with a bid of $51,920.
“(The architect) is reviewing them and making sure everything would in fact be historically and aesthetically pleasing, and not something we would have to re-do when and if grants come down the pike,” Smith said.
Council member Brooke Coulter asked if grant money could be used to reimburse the city for roof installation.
Smith said that a grant would not likely be able to be used to reimburse work that the city had already paid for.
She said if the city accepted the low bid, there could be an additional cost, contingent upon what is found during an infrared test.
Smith added that Insulated Roofing is offering a 15-year warranty, where the other bidders are offering a five-to-10-year warranty.
Mayor Dr. John Cecconi indicated that a special-called meeting may have to be held so that action on the roof could be taken before bad weather set in.
“We feel confident we’re going to be able to get this work accomplished,” Smith said. “No award will be made unless the council makes it upon the recommendation of our architect.”

Property maintenance ordinance
The Main Street / Renaissance committee discussed and recommended an ordinance for the city council to approve, which was presented at the council meeting.
The ordinance would address properties with peeling paint, gutters falling down and broken glass.
“Their specific interest is in the historic district and Renaissance districts,” Smith said. “They do concur that it would probably be great for the entire city, because we do have quite a bit of property that doesn’t necessarily fit under the nuisance ordinance...”
City attorney Bill Robinson said the nuisance ordinance mostly applies to property that is nearly beyond repair.
“The goal would be with a basic property maintenance ordinance. Maybe you could have some basics,” he said. “Some guttering, windows and that kind of thing to where the properties don’t dilapidate in such a fashion that they literally have no other purpose than to raze them.”
Robinson said such an ordinance could go as far as curbing drug use in the city.
“So many times these blighted properties are used as crack houses or other sorts of flop houses for people that have no other place to go,” he said. “Even something like a nuisance ordinance has much greater applications in terms of making positive change on some of the other problems.”

In other news...
- The city council meeting scheduled for election day, Nov. 8, has been moved to the Springfield Opera House, due to city hall being a polling place.  The meeting time has been changed to 5 p.m.
- The council agreed to continue hosting a Christmas dinner for city employees.
“We got into this controversy last year or the year before,” Cecconi said. “My opinion was, some of the people that come, it’s probably the only Christmas party that they actually have. You say that’s not true. Well, you sit there at the door and just watch who comes in and then tell me when they go somewhere else. Sincerely. I think they look forward to it. I’m in favor of it.”
- Springfield city police chief Jim Smith said officers are making rounds in local schools.
“They don’t have to do it everyday, but I told them a couple of times a week to get out and they go in every school,” Smith said.
- Trick-or-treating in Springfield will take place from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in downtown on Oct. 31. Residential trick-or-treating will take place from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m.