City deals with Market Street Park legal mattersApril 11, 2019
By CANDY NEAL
HUNTINGBURG — The City of Huntingburg has settled a contract dispute with the contractor involved with Market Street Park. But litigation negotiations with a property owner continue.
The city and contractor Jasper Lumber agreed to the city withholding $23,500 of the contract’s $4.4 million cost for the park’s construction, the Huntingburg Common Council heard Tuesday.
“We withheld $47,000 of the price because they were 47 days late in finishing the project,” City Attorney Phil Schneider said Wednesday. “Jasper Lumber disagreed with us not paying them their full contract price.”
Jasper Lumber constructed the park, which spans between Fourth and Geiger streets and is just east of Old Town Hall.
The park was supposed to have been completed last summer, but instead was completed in mid-October. More work had to be done mainly because of the soft subgrade, or soft soil, located throughout the site, project engineer Nathan Waggner of Cash Waggner & Associates explained in mid-August. At that time, Waggner presented 13 change orders to the council for work, such as removing old underground piping or filling it with grout, rock excavation work, excavation work for footers and some walls, and dealing with a fourth cistern that was found underground.
The contract between Jasper Lumber and the city stipulated that if the project was not completed on time, a penalty of $1,000 per day would be charged.
Jasper Lumber disagreed, believing the city should pay the full amount of the contract, Schneider explained to the council Tuesday. “The contractor felt ($47,000) was excessive,” the attorney said.
After discussing the matter with Jasper Lumber, both sides agreed to half of the cost.
“We settled and agreed that we would withhold half of that because we did have use of half of the park on time,” Schneider said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, negotiations continue with a property owner who is suing the city, alleging that some of his land just north of Market Street Park is being used for the park. Grant Swartzentruber of Washington-based GSES LLC claims in his Feb. 13 lawsuit that the city used part of his property, located at 317 E. Fourth St., without permission. The property includes China Wok on the first floor and apartments on the second floor.
“That is still open,” Schneider said Wednesday. “We are trying to negotiate something, but we haven’t gotten anything settled yet. So we will continue trying.”
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