Demolition ‘expected’ to begin on Justice Center site next Monday

Posted February 22, 2024 at 9:44 am

Will Monday, February 26, be the actual “start” of the demolition of existing buildings that will eventually be the site of the new Clinton County Justice Center?
Clinton County Judge/Executive Ricky Craig, the PDB members and a host of local residents who have been awaiting that important phase of the overdue project are hoping it will actually come to pass.
Judge Craig, who also chairs the Project Development Board, that contractors have given assurance they will begin moving in equipment and starting the process of demolishing the buildings at the start of next week, barring any further “unforeseen” delays.
The PDB’s regular meeting, which had been scheduled for last Friday morning, was cancelled. Judge Craig noted there was limited business to be addressed, in addition to the expectation that the demolition process would begin as anticipated.
The most recent delays, however, have been short in comparison to initial projections on when the process began, as the project–if started next week, will be about 14 months behind the projected starting date.
Demolition of the older, existing buildings–which include the old McWhorter Implement, Ferguson Brothers and McWhorter Variety Store–all local landmark businesses in the past, had originally been scheduled to begin in early 2023.
However, following research on the buildings and several environmental problems that including discovering hazardous waste materials that had to be  removed by state and federal certified companies, the project was pushed back a full year during studies, bidding processes and waste removal itself.
Once those issues were resolved late last year, the local Project Development Board opened demolition bids last November,  and on December 1, 2023, accepted the bid of $362,000 from Sunesis Environmental, LLC of Fairfield, Ohio.
The motion to accept the Sunesis bid included the recommendation made by Codell, the project’s Construction Manager.
A total of seven bids for the demolition had originally been submitted, ranging from the $362,000 low (which was accepted) upward to $1.7 million. The closest company from Albany to submit a bid was Glasgow, Kentucky.
At the time of the bid acceptance by the board, the time line for total completion had been scheduled, including a closing date of March 8.
Judge Craig could give no actual specifics of why the demolition portion of the project did not begin sooner, except that contractors indicated there was some unsigned paperwork through the AOC (Administrative Office of the Courts) that had to be dealt with before the project could officially start.
There is no specific time line as to when the entire project will now be completed, as there are various stages of work to take place. However, the actual demolishing of the buildings themselves is expected to take only a few weeks.
Earlier projections were that when the process actually begins, it will take about 30 days to complete.
Phases of the project, once equipment is moved in, will include installation of a perimeter barricade fence, with ending phases including debris removal, and adding topsoil and seeding on the area where the buildings now stand.
Residents, including motorists, can expect to see a lot of activity around where the work is taking place between Cross and Washington Streets and are urged to take precautions during the demolition work.
The entire Clinton County Justice Center project, which has now grown in price due to the unforeseen delays, is apparently still expected to be complete sometime in 2027.
The next regular meeting of the Clinton Justice Center Project Development Board is scheduled for March 15 at 8 a.m. in the upstairs courtroom of the courthouse.