After bids came in lower than expected for the storm sewer project on the Town Square, Hope Town Council is setting aside money for the roofs of structures in the  park.

Town Council held a special meeting last week to receive and choose bids for the stormwater improvement project on the south side of the square. A more than century old stormwater drain is failing there, leading to collapses in the parking spaces in the area.

Of the five bidders, the lowest was $172,166 from Holman Excavating from Versailles. Tony Akles from Strand Associates, recommended approving Holman for the project, as the company has done satisfactory previous work for the town including on Shaeffer Drive and Hauser Drive. The bid did not include the engineering on the project, which was estimated at up to $90,000. But even with those costs and setting aside other money for possible overruns, it was a substantially lower bid than originally estimated by about $60,000.

There was hopes that INDOT would allow the town to temporarily close State Road 9/Main Street in order to more easily replace the storm sewer that lies under the road. However, Akles said that does not appear to be something INDOT will allow. In that case, the storm sewer line section under the road will be replaced by a boring process.

In February, after being turned down for grants for a block-long project, the Town Council elected to pay for the project out of town funds and to complete a smaller project, at an estimated cost of about $320,000. At the time, the council and Clerk-Treasurer Diane Burton agreed to fund the work primarily from the town's storm water repair fund taking about $230,000 from that account. They also identified other sources of funds, as the community capital development account, and the economic development income taxes fund.

With the lower than anticipated costs, Town Council decided last week not to take any money from the EDIT funds for the stormwater project, instead setting aside $25,000 from that fund to replace the roofs on the shelterhouse, the bandstand and the well house. Officials are estimating that project will cost about $50,000. The roofs are all in poor shape and residents have said you can see sunlight through holes in the shelter house roof. 

That will likely mean the need to replace the underlying structure of the roof, increasing the costs. The council also agreed to use simulated cedar shakes, made of metal. That was seen as a longer-lasting solution and cheaper than replacing the roof with a standing-seam metal roof.  

Town Council member Ed Johnson said the town will continue to investigate the potential costs before moving forward with the project.