With any luck, interior work on the Daviess County Government Center will begin sooner rather than later. On Tuesday afternoon, a bid meeting was held in the currently unfinished facility and five contractors were on hand to learn more about the project and take a look around before submitting a bid.

“This is an opportunity to see what this project really consists of,” said Lara Dawson, graduate architect and project manager with RQAW.

Bids, Dawson said, will need to be submitted by 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 24 and will be opened on Feb. 25 during the next county commissioner’s meeting.

Mike Shapker, owners representative, said work on the building commonly known as the annex slowed in June and came to halt on July 11 after months of delays from Jasper Lumber, the original general contractor.

Jasper Lumber was terminated and RQAW was later hired to finish out the work.

There’s still painting, drywall and flooring that needs installed in parts of the facility. It’s those projects that are up for bid.

“It’s pretty much everything that isn’t done,” said Shapker. “We have some subcontractors who are coming back in to finish some of the work. The electrical and the mechanical will be taken care of. The general contractor would coordinate other subcontractors needed to finish out the work.”

Shapker said during the commissioners meeting Tuesday morning that Delaware Glass has started work to address the issues with the curtain wall or walls of windows. Once the curtain wall is fixed, the remaining pieces of StonePly can be put in place.

“We had a nice and reasonable response with the bids,” said Shapker. “We still have a ways to go but at least we have got the process started.”

During the commissioner’s meeting, coal producers provided updates.

Representatives from the Billings Mine said they are working on keeping the amount road tar down and that CR 700 E. would get reclaimed.

“Your response has been fantastic,” said Commissioner Nathan Gabhart, adding the amount of coal muck on the roads was dangerous. “My frustration is that you have coal trucks driving along there and see it. We have enough crosses along that road.”

Alex Messmoor with White Stallion, said that the company owned by former Black Beauty Coal Company owner Steve Chancellor, still has plans to reopen the Captain Daviess Mine.

“One of the constants in the coal industry is change,” said Messmoor. “Some of the coal sales we had hopes to secure did not come through. We’ve been cut to the minimums on others.”

Messmoor stressed that White Stallion, which purchased Solar Sources, does still intend to open the mine.

“We do intend to open it in the future. The near future does not look promising, but it’s all driven by the market,” said Messmoor.

Commissioners also heard from Scott Dyer who lives out on CR 75 E. Dyer said a company building a model home had closed the road and traffic was then directed through his front yard.

“I’m not opposed to the house being built,” Dyer said. “My issue is that they were driving through my front yard.”

During Dyer’s exchange with the commissioners, it was also noted that the parcel, which is just under an acre, may actually be too small to build on once the setbacks are applied and there may be some issues with the septic.

While the commissioners could address the company driving through the yard and blocking the road, there was little the group could do about the other issues.

Daviess County Highway Superintendent Phil Cornelius said the bridge inspection is now complete for phase one. That phase included the Montgomery overhead bridge as well as two troublesome box culverts.

The county will be reimbursed for $5,283 for the cost of the inspections.

Cornelius said the Indiana Department of Natural Resources also wants the county to replant trees along a bridge on CR 900 E.

“Most of these are just hedge trees,” said Cornelius who said he hopes the state will take another look at the property before the county spends money on replanting the trees. “We are four hundredths of an acre over the limits (to not be required to have a mitigation site).

Due an error with a decimal point, Cornelius said the rate for the bridge fund would also need to be advertised again. A public hearing on the issue will be held at the next commissioner’s meeting.

Bryant Niehoff with the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation reminded the commissioners that meeting on the Midstates Corridor Project will be held next week. Meetings will be open house style on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Tuesday’s meeting will be at Loogootee High School, Wednesday at Bedford and the Thursday meeting will be at Jasper Middle School. Meetings will begin at 5:30 p.m. with presentations slated for 6.

Niehoff said the number of routes has been reduced from around 20 down to 10 and some of those remaining options include Daviess County.

Paul Williams with Hoosier Insurance updated the commissioners on the county insurance plans. The county will continue with the same coverage plans as last year.

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