Photo and Story by Rick Hiduk
Wyoming County Commissioners (clockwise from front, left) Judy Mead, Tom Henry, and Ron Williams and Chief Clerk Bill Gaylord prepare to open bids for the demolition of 18 properties damaged during the 2011 floods with (continuing clockwise) Reade Schield and Eric Speicher of Ceco Associates. Representatives from some of the 10 companies that submitted bids comprised the majority of the audience for the Jan. 28 meeting.
More than two years after the floods of 2011 took their toll on the region, scores of homes in Wyoming County that were purchased from their owners in a federal buyout program await demolition. On Jan. 28, the Wyoming County Commissioners brought the process one step closer to fruition with the opening of bids received to clear 18 properties in groups one and five, including eight in the borough of Tunkhannock.
Representatives from some of the 10 companies that submitted bids to the county were in attendance as Eric Speicher and Reade Schield of Ceco Associates, which was contracted by the county to coordinate the project with the commissioners and EMA Director Gene Dziak. Speicher, a structural coordinator for Ceco, opened the 18 envelopes.
Bids to demolish 10 homes in Eaton Township ranged from $93,800 to $182,270, with the apparent low bidder being Smart Recycling Company of Dunmore.
Smart was also the apparent low bidder to clear the eight designated borough properties, which prompted Dziak to speak up.
“Before we award that bid, I’d like to meet with that company,” he said to the commissioners. “I want to be perfectly clear of the scope of the work,” adding that a company that demolished some homes flooded in 2009 did not adequately clear the properties.
“I was surprised at the amount of bidders for these projects,” Dziak said on Wednesday. “And there was a wide range.” Bidding on group five varied from Smart’s bid of $55,800 to a proposal by Pioneer Construction to do the job for $122,445.
Based on previous experience, Dziak expected the cost for demolition per home to average $15,000. He returned to his office and crunched the numbers to find Smart’s cost per home coming in at about $9,000 each. “I was somewhat surprised by the number, but everything was in order,” Dziak remarked.
Since then, he has spoken with the owners of the company, which has a history of taking on much larger projects. “If you look at their website, the first thing that you see is them imploding a building,” Dziak related. “This is not a small outfit. They wanted the job because this is not a busy time for them.”
Signing of the contract is contingent on approval of language by solicitor James Davis and will likely be announced at the next commissioner’s meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
“I’m fine with it,” Dziak said of the Smart Recycling bids. “I had a very successful meeting with them.”
Small hurdles such as the location through PA-One-Call of underground utilities and asbestos inspections remain, but permitting for the demolition is in place. If the contracts can be signed within a week, Dziak suggested that the work could be started in as few as three weeks.
Groups two, three, and four of homes slated for demolition remain on the table, and the county will advertise for bids on those in the coming months.