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$17,700 in additional repairs needed at city library

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Problems with the underlying structure of the marble steps in front of Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library are leading to costly repairs.

The city is spending $17,700 more than originally planned to restore the crumbling, bowl-shaped fountains, the facade and the front steps at the 229 Washington St. building.

“After dismantling the steps, the condition of the underlying structure was poor enough to require additional work,” city planner Andrew T. Nichols said in an email. “This was not unexpected, but it was worse than the best-case scenario, which was the basis for the original bid pricing. New concrete will be poured to shore up the foundation under the steps.”

The additional cost includes small changes to the fountain design. Library Director Barbara J. Wheeler said there also may be damage under the paving stones.

Mr. Nichols said the City Council approved the additional $17,700 on Aug. 5.

Contractor Raymond E. Kelley Inc., Seneca Falls, originally was approved to be paid $253,400. The company began restoring the front of the building in mid-July after the project was delayed by a year because of a lack of bids. In addition to the fountains and the facade, a marble lion and some of the fencing in the front will be restored.

The contractor needs city approval if additional time is required to complete the extra work. Mr. Nichols said that if an extension is needed, it may be discussed at the council meeting Sept. 16.

“The end date might be extended,” he said in the email. “While the contractor could be subject to fines after 9/30, this date was chosen arbitrarily just because the standard contract requires a date. The City will likely offer an extension when that date approaches, as long as the work can be completed before winter temperatures set in.”

Once the repairs have been made, visitors once again will be allowed to use the front entrance, which has been off-limits for more than a year.

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