City opens bids for downtown project

Bids for the St. Louis Avenue Streetscape project in Seymour came in under the estimated $1 million projected cost.

Keith Sattler of HWC Engineering opened those bids during the Board of Public Works meeting Thursday morning at city hall.

The city received four bids with the lowest being $699,591 from Schutte Excavating in Greensburg. Other bids were $756,800 from King’s Trucking and Excavation in Seymour, $892,000 from Dave O’Mara Contractors Inc. in North Vernon and $968,600 from Milestone Contractors in Columbus.

City attorney Rodney Farrow will review the bids and the board plans to award the contract at its July 11 meeting.

The project will completely renovate One Chamber Square and the surrounding area with enhanced sidewalks and curbing and upgraded lighting and electrical services. It will create a community space that includes seating and interactive features such as an outdoor musical play installation and large exploration boulders.

A preliminary concept plan from HWC Engineering shows new elements, including porch swings, interactive art and musical features for children, tables and chairs and other architectural and landscaping features.

Construction could begin later this summer or early fall and must be completed by May 1, 2020.

Originally, Mayor Craig Luedeman had hoped to have the project done by this year’s Seymour Oktoberfest. Since that won’t be possible, the city plans to ask the contractor to halt their work from Sept. 30 to Oct. 8 for the festival and also for the annual downtown Scoop the Loop event Aug. 16-17.

One of the most important aspects of the project is making the area compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The current design of One Chamber Square has picnic tables set up in a pit area with concrete steps on the west and north sides but no ramp.

That pit would be filled in and made flat, and a curbless street design would be implemented, similar to Fourth Street in Columbus. Parking along the south side of St. Louis Avenue would change from parallel to angle parking.

Another major piece is a pedestrian crossing from Jeffersonville Avenue over the Louisville and Indiana Railroad into Crossroads Community Park on the east side of the tracks.

The project is being funded by a $590,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs and $450,000 in local matching money.

Of the matching funds, $430,000 is from tax increment financing revenue from the Seymour Redevelopment Commission, $5,000 from the city’s economic development income tax fund, a $10,000 donation from the Community Foundation of Jackson County and $5,000 from Seymour Main Street.