Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Work began this week to repair the portion Harborwalk boardwalk that was damaged when fire swept through a large portion of the 700 block of Front Street Sept. 25.
R.L, Morrison Excavating, hired by the city to make the repairs, arrived with a crane and barge and began the work on Tuesday.
City Council authorized the spending of $67,788 for the repair work.
City Administrator Chris Carter said some of the pilings behind the 700 block of Front Street are being removed and replaced. A portion of damaged decking is also being replaced.
“Anything that was burned on the Harborwalk is being replaced,” Carter said.
In order to do the work, it was necessary to remove a large section of the boardwalk but only a small portion actually needs to be replaced.
Gov. Nikki Haley, in the days following the fire, signed an order authorizing a grant of up to $1 million to help pay for any city-owned property - such as the Harbrowalk - damaged by the fire.
Once the Harbrowalk repairs are made, the same company will complete the cleanup of the river that was started last month by the National Guard.
The city is spending an additional $69,000 with the company for the cleanup. Originally, R.L. Morrison was going to charge more than $80,000 for the cleanup but lowered the pice because of the work done by the National Guard.
Carter said the National Guard did not have the equipment needed to do the entire cleanup project. He said he is appreciative of the work done by the Guard. He said they removed three 20-foot containers full of debris from the water but there is still a lot of building materials and other items to be removed.
Carter said the city will have to pay the costs initially but will be reimbursed through a state grant.
Councilman Paige Sawyer said he is concerned about that arrangement.
“I will agree to it if we get a signed statement from the state saying we will be reimbursed,” Sawyer said. “I really do see the state reimbursing us for cleaning up the water.”
Carter is hoping if there is no reimbursement that the costs will be covered by the city’s insurance.
“We will make a claim and see what happens,” Mayor Jack Scoville said.
Carter said the repair and cleanup may be complete in the next two weeks but he wants the crew to take as long as needed to do the jobs right.