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Benwood’s Bridge Demand: $500,000

City wants cash to ease demolition worries

April 25, 2012
By SHELLEY HANSON Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

BENWOOD - Benwood City Council members want Delta Demolition to produce $500,000 in cash to show it has the means to finish tearing down the old Bellaire Bridge.

During a regular meeting Tuesday, council offered up the terms to the Virginia-based company's attorney, Jeremy Domozick. Council wants Delta to give the city $500,000 in cash to keep while the company razes the bridge portion that stands above the city. That way, if Delta cannot finish the project, the city can keep the money. If Delta does finish the project, the firm gets the money back with interest, said Frank Longwell, police chief and development director.

It was unclear what the city would do with the money if the firm would default on the project.

Article Photos

Photo by Shelley Hanson
A.C. Wiethe, left, Bel-O-Mar Regional Council assistant director; Craig Richards, center, Burgess & Niple project engineer; and Frank Longwell, police chief and development director, talk Tuesday about funding issues related to separating combined sewer overflows in Benwood.

Council previously wanted Delta to obtain a $1 million performance bond for the demolition, but Domozick described the project as "not bondable." In addition to the $500,000 in cash, if Delta goes out of business or cannot finish the project, council would get the steel from the bridge. Domozick is expected to take the offer back to the bridge's owner, KDC Investments. KDC is owned by Krystle Chaklos, wife of Delta owner Lee Chaklos.

"This is a self-funding project. When the steel comes down, it funds the money for the project," Domozick said. "There is little risk (to Delta) going under."

Longwell pointed out an unrelated riverboat demolition project that he claimed Delta did not finish as one reason for council's tendency to be leery of striking a deal with the company.

"It's a heck of a gamble," Longwell said.

Meanwhile, after holding a closed-door session, council approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Marshall County Commission, Regional Economic Development Partnership and Shelly & Sands to contribute $30,000 to a paving project to extend Industrial Park Road by 1,200 feet. Mayor Ed Kuca said the road extension is expected to alleviate an increase in truck traffic to the city's industrial park.

"It will be built to (Department of Highways) specs and the state will take it over afterward," Longwell said, noting the road would have 10 inches of asphalt to support heavy trucks.

Longwell said he also is working on another plan to possibly have the city purchase acreage from CSX that would allow for the connection of Benwood's two industrial parks, possibly leading to more companies - such as those related to oil and gas drilling - moving into the city.

In other matters, council tabled a decision on seeking grants and loans for the first phase of a five-phase project related to the separation of combined sewer overflows, which is an EPA-mandated measure. Members did approve a reimbursement resolution that will allow the city to seek funding to cover future design costs related to the sewer separations.

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