Erwin Linear Trail extension moves forward

Sue Guinn Legg • Oct 9, 2017 at 10:44 PM

ERWIN — The Erwin Linear Trail is getting closer to its much-talked-about connection to Fishery Park.

On Monday, the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a $996,965 bid to extend the trail to the park via a tunnel beneath the Harris Hollow Road bridge over Interstate 26.

The bid from Summers Taylor Construction was the lowest of four bids submitted for the project. An additional $131,000 in engineering fees brought the total cost of the project to $1,127,965, or $28,876 more than the $1,077,088 the town budgeted for the trail extension.

The budgeted funding included $885,271 in Tennessee Department of Transportation grant funding, with a 20 percent match from the town.

In light of the project coming in over budget, Mayor Doris Hensley told the board its options included advertising the project for a second round of bids, amending the budget to cover the $28,876 cost overrun or postponing the trail extension for another year.

Town Recorder Glenn Rosenoff recommended moving forward with the trail extension and expressed confidence the town will realize savings on other grant-funded projects coming up this year.

He specifically cited the town’s TVA Invest Prep grant for the demolition and shovel-ready site preparation of the Morgan industrial site property that will be put out for bid in about two weeks, saying the town had already saved significant money on that project and expressing confidence the cost of demolition will come in well under budget.

Savings on that project include the town’s sale of the metal buildings on the Morgan property earlier this year.

Alderman Mark Lefever made the motion to approve the bid and move forward with the trail project, saying “A lot of people are talking about connecting the park and the trail and how nice that will be.”

Alderman Rochelle Shurtz seconded the motion. And with Alderman Gary Chandler absent, the board voted 5 to 0 to approve the bid.

Work is expected to begin soon and be completed in 180 days.

In other business Monday, Hensley announced the town has recently been awarded grant funding for two other projects — $315,000 for purchase of two advanced life-support ambulances for a town-operated emergency medical response service and a $100,000 grant to launch a new facade-improvement program for downtown property owners.

Hensley told the board members the town staff will begin work on both projects and will have more information for their consideration soon.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.