Bidders scarce for FEMA-funded project

·2 min read

Jul. 30—LEWISBURG — Local companies were notably absent this week at a bid opening for a post-flood project in Greenbrier County.

The lone bidder on a FEMA-funded project to elevate a White Sulphur Springs home out of the floodplain is based in St. Albans. The $197,000 bid submitted by Melton Construction was opened at Tuesday morning's Greenbrier County Commission meeting.

Paula Brown with the county's Emergency Management Agency told commissioners that she had advertised the project twice and personally contacted several local contractors, but not a single one responded with a bid either time. When she inquired about the seeming lack of interest, Brown said at least one contractor told her he was simply too busy to take on another project, while others cited the high cost of construction materials.

Commission Assistant Kelly Banton said the staff of the county Planning Commission has been hearing the same story. Across the board, people are having trouble finding contractors to build their projects.

Commissioners handed Melton's bid package over to Brown for a review, after which they will decide whether to award the contract.

----Matt Ford reported that the restoration and expansion of the Meadow River Rail Trail is still moving forward, following the award of a $1.8 million grant, $191,314 of which is being released to allow work to begin on a 6.4-mile stretch of land that will link the existing trail to the town of Rainelle.

That grant comes from the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection's Office of Abandoned Mine Lands and Reclamation.

"We're making progress," said Ford, the project manager.

He said Fayette County — Greenbrier's partner in the 23.1-mile rail trail's development — had just selected Chapman Engineers to design repairs for flood-damaged sections toward the Fayette end of the trail. Greenbrier is also working with Chapman, increasing the likelihood of construction beginning, as hoped, in 2023.

"I feel better about this than I have since I started," Ford told the Greenbrier County officials. "I'm looking forward to taking a walk with you on the trail."

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