The Marilla Town Board met last week with engineers, lawyers, veterans and the contractor in an effort to speed up the work on the veterans memorial reconstruction project on Bullis Road.
The project has been a burr in the sides of Town Board members and a local veterans group for several weeks as it drags on. Members of the Marilla Veterans Club are worried that their Veterans Day parade, usually held at the construction site, will be affected.
The meeting was promising, and ended with an agreement with contractor Jason Burford of Birch Grove Landscaping, who took the blame for having to redo a portion of the project twice. He will redo a portion of the concrete work a third time.
“The problem is there are huge, gaping holes in the foundation which need to be repaired,” Supervisor George Gertz said. “The problem is, will this patching hold up?”
Burford apologized to the board for what he said was one employee’s mistake, which required the extra work.
The walkway, created 10 years ago to honor veterans by the sale of bricks with their names on them, has been plagued with drainage problems. Water washed away portions of the hillside site, resulting in the tract closing because of safety concerns.
The memorial site is used often by town organizations for celebrations throughout the year.
In an effort to remedy the problem, the town had the original contractor come out of retirement to fix it at an additional cost of $5,000 five years ago, but that work didn’t hold up. This year, bids were sought to rebuild the entire memorial walkway, with expectations the work would fix the drainage problems permanently.
Birch Grove was awarded the bid for $50,000. The town will not pay until the work is completed to everyone’s satisfaction.
A solution was recommended by engineer Brian J. Kulpa, of Clark Patterson Lee engineering firm, who was enlisted by the town. Burford agreed to the recommendation and said he also had enlisted the help of another engineer and has researched a new material to be used which won’t flake or pop.
“We are not interested in having the project ripped out again,” Burford said.
Kulpa said if the town agrees to the patch work, the agreement must be in writing to extend the guarantee for five years, as well as include an outline in detail of the corrective work planned.
The Town Board may consider the fix at its meeting Thursday.
Burford said the fix would take about two weeks, as long as it doesn’t snow.