Helper readies renovation bid
Last Thursday, Helper officials authorized the Western Mining and Railroad Museum's building board to engage an architect to develop a bid package for the renovation of the exterior of the existing facility.
The bid process will remain contingent upon the city obtaining adequate revenue to proceed with the initial phase of the expansion project.
Approaching the Helper City Council at the Jan. 5 public meeting, building board representative Tom Paluso outlined three options for the officials to consider. Museum boardmember Pat Kokal accompanied Paluso to the council meeting.
The two museum boards decided to present the alternatives to the mayor and council for consideration after reviewing the money available for the project and discussing the estimated costs with engineers and architects, explained the building panel representative.
Paluso indicated that the recommended options involved:
â¢Remodeling only the first floor of the building.
The engineers and architects estimated that the costs for completing the first floor phase of the overall museum expansion project may exceed $1 million, noted Paluso.
â¢Renovating the exterior of the facility, with associated expenses estimated at $606,000.
â¢Reconstructing the entire building, with total costs for completing all phases of the expansion project estimated at $1.2 million.
The entire museum expansion project would include constructing a cement repository, refurbishing the exterior of the existing facility and installing elevators as well as new restrooms in the building.
Paluso pointed out that Helper has already secured approximately $670,700 in funding to subsidize the museum expansion project.
Helper's financial records indicate that the outstanding grants for the project include $241,055 from the Utah Permanent Community Impact Board, $118,000 from the department of transportation and $100,000 in energy loop funding. The revenue total included an additional $147,000 in federal economic development grant monies pledged by United States Rep. Jim Matheson.
"The longer we wait, the more expensive it will be," commented Paluso. "It's not going to get any cheaper."
Councilmembers Dean Armstrong and Larry Gaser pointed out that the building board had never submitted a formal bid package, complete with construction specifications on the project, to city officials for review.
Addressing the matter, Mayor Mike Dalpiaz explained that Helper did not actually have the federal economic development monies in hand, but favored proceeding with option one or three of the alternatives outlined by Paluso.
However, in the event the city applied to the CIB for an additional $750,000 in one-half grant and one-half no-interest loan monies to complete the museum expansion project, the mayor voiced concern regarding the city's financial ability to meet the accompanying $12,000 yearly payments.
"We have to finish something sometime," said Armstrong, referring not only to the museum expansion, but the uncompleted Rio Theatre project.
Following the discussion, Armstrong moved to authorize the museum building board to solicit a formal bid package on the refurbishing the exterior of the museum.
The motion including advertising for bids on the project, but specified that Helper reserved the right to accept or reject all proposals based on available funding.
The council voted unanimously in favor of the motion.