Council approves final payments to architectural firm

by Dan Holland

Aug. 29 city council meeting

Members of Broadview Heights City Council approved a resolution amending an agreement with Van Auken Akins Architects for architectural services provided in connection with a proposed new fire department headquarters and station. Residents voted down the measure by a 60/40 margin in May, which called for a 24,350-square-foot, $11.5 million facility to be built on the city campus.

The resolution, which passed by a 5-2 vote, reduces the original contract amount from $810,000 to $720,164. Council members Glenn Goodwin and Joe Price voted no on the measure.

According to an Aug. 9 memo from Finance Director Dave Pfaff addressed to members of city council and Mayor Sam Alai, the change order – with a reduction of $89,836 – will take the project “through the construction documents phase.”

Goodwin questioned some of the wording in the agreement and sought to clarify whether the city would be “on the hook” for any additional payments.

“The way that I read this, they could say, ‘Hey, we were never told to stop,’” said Goodwin.

“That’s what we are doing,” responded Alai. “We are telling them that we don’t want to go any further. … after this, we are done until we decide to hire them or another architect going forward.”

“So, the voters said ‘no’ to this on May 3– and this is Aug. 29 and we are just now telling them to stop?” asked Price.

“Yes – they are finishing the project,” said Alai. “We will have a finished product in our pockets to move forward with if we choose to build this. That was always the intention.”

Price asked if the $720,000 payment was a settlement.

“No, it is not a settlement; it is final payment,” said Alai.

Goodwin asked if any work had been done by VAA since the May election.

“Yes. They are finishing what they started – designing the building,” said Alai. “We will have final documents, and we will have a final price, and then – not to use the term – we will cut loose both the architect and developer.”

Infinity Construction Co., Inc., was hired in February to perform preconstruction services for the project.

“I’m struggling with the thought of paying an architect a settlement – because that’s what this was – for $720,000 knowing the mayor never stopped the action or was patient enough to wait until the voters decided,” Price later said by phone. “They said no, and he went ahead with it anyways.”

“An almost identical proposition was voted down by residents 20 years ago,” said Goodwin via email. “I believe this was far beyond what this city ever would need to keep residents safe. This administration could have stopped spending at any time during the process without council approval. The legislation certified a $720,000 expense and allowed the mayor to restart the project at any time within the fine print. My vote coincided with my consistent vocal and council procedural votes in opposition to this over bloated, extravagant expenditure, which also lacked much in transparency.”

“I can only note that we have reduced the cost due to VAA, and it is my sincere hope we can resume the process in a year or two,” said Alai via email. “The need is not going away as we find other ways to complete the project.”

In other action, council:

  • Passed a resolution of appreciation to Sgt. Scott Payne for serving 24 years with the Broadview Heights Police Department.
  • Passed a resolution authorizing the establishment of an opioid settlement fund to accept any payments from the OneOhio Opioid Settlement case.
  • Passed a resolution amending an agreement with Perram Electric, Inc., for the Royalton Road traffic signal project.
  • Passed a resolution to amend an agreement with O.R Colan Associates, LLC for right-of-way acquisition services for the Wallings Road interchange project.
  • Passed a resolution amending an agreement with KMJM Land Services for right-of-way acquisition services for the Echo Lane Flood Reduction Project.
  • Passed 17 individual resolutions for easement agreements for the Wallings Road interchange project.
  • Passed a resolution to enter into an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation for upgrade of traffic signal equipment on State Route 176 (Broadview Road).
  • Passed a resolution authorizing an agreement with C.P. Electric Motor Repair, Inc. for a pump at the Bramblewood Pump Station.
  • Passed a resolution amending an agreement with Smith & Nejedlik, Inc. for appraisal review services for the Wallings Road interchange project.
  • Passed an ordinance to amend an ordinance that provides for approved appropriations for current expenses and other expenditures in the city during 2022. ∞