Butler County seeking bids for $1 million monument repairs

Just how much it will cost to repair a historic monument in Butler County should be known by the end of June.

Butler County will be publishing requests for proposals on restoring the historic Soldiers, Sailors and Pioneers Monument within the next two weeks, according to Randy Quisenberry, director of purchasing and assets for the county.

The project, which has doubled in price to $1 million, will have to be completed in phases and the county is seeking bids for all phases of restoring the Hamilton monument.

“We are very eager to get proposals in from these experts who do this for a living,” Quisenberry said. “The beauty of the proposals doing the entire scope of the work, even if the budget is tight, we will get some real actual estimates on what these repairs are going to be, given that some will be pushed out two, three, four, five years from now.”

A recent report divided the cost of the project into three phases:

  • The first phase has a price tag of $471,778, plus $90,000 for scaffolding that will be up for six months, $157,480 for contingencies and $125,984 for general conditions, meaning what contractors may find beneath the surface.
  • The second phase is expected to cost $33,550 and includes things like new storm windows over the stained glass and other windows and cleaning the bronze sculpture at the top. These items would be addressed in a three- to five-year time frame.
  • The third phase is estimated at $124,923 and would address aesthetics such as cleaning, replacing bird deterrents and other finishing touches.

Butler County commissioners, however, expressed hesitation in March at spending $1 million to restore the 112-year-old building that houses historic artifacts and war records that may be in peril due to a crumbling ceiling and other building issues.

“Am I going to commit to $1 million? No,” Commissioner T.C. Rogers said in March when the new restoration estimates came in. “You have to see what’s best for your community. Is that where you spend that kind of money?”

County Administrator Charlie Young said first on the agenda is to get the building water proofed to deter any further deterioration.

More than a year ago, the Hamilton Community Foundation pledged $250,000 to fix the leaking roof on the monument and to make other repairs, if the county would pick of the up the other half of the estimated $500,000 tab.

John Guidugli, president and CEO of the Hamilton Community Foundation, said they haven’t had any concrete discussions on possibly contributing more to the project, but they are hopeful the bids will come in lower than the estimates.

“We were going to see how much can be done for the $500,000, once they actually put it our for bid,” he said. “We’ll see how that comes in and hopefully see how much that accomplishes and reevaluate things after we know that.”

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