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Village trims sidewalk cost projection

FLAT ROCK — An updated estimate has trimmed the projected cost of the West Blue Ridge Road sidewalk project from $460,000 to $316,000.

The Village Council looked at the new numbers Thursday during its regular July meeting. Landscape architect Ed Lastein told the board that initial numbers, which had raised the project cost over two years from $275,000 to $460,000 and caused consternation among council members and the public, were based on a quick calculation.
Council finance chairman "Dave (Bucher) needed a number for the budget," Lastein said. "You know that's the danger of just throwing a number out there."
Lastein worked with Matthew Lawter of Trace & Co. to refine the estimate. The new estimate put the cost at $316,578. That includes $53,270 for granite curbing. The council has planned the sidewalk out of concrete pavers, brick pavers and granite curbing to make it compatible with the higher-quality pathways in the village core.
"The reason behind that is obviously to maintain the historic character of the village," Lastein said.
Switching to a poured concrete sidewalk would save $17,000. The village could save $28,500 by substituting concrete curb and gutter for the historically compatible granite.
"It's important from my perspective to have it all uniform," Lastein said. If the council chooses the cheaper option, "I think future generations are going to say, what were they thinking?"
Lastein said the council could see the price fall when hungry contractors submit bids.
"When this goes to public bid, competition is going to bring these prices down a little more," he said. "I was blown away by the range of prices we got on this sidewalk out here" on Greenville Highway.
Sidewalk construction is less than a third of the cost. Drainage work, pipes, culverts, catch basins and curb and gutter are other costs.
Lastein said the road is hazardous because of the deep ditch on the north side. "If somebody just goes off the edge six inches, they're going to be in that ditch," he said. "It's unsightly and it's unsafe."
The council has not finalized whether the sidewalk will go from the Village center to Bonclarken or a little further east to the Millhouse Lodge.
On the recommendation of Councilman Jimmy Chandler, the board agreed to advertise the shorter and longer options and decide after the bids come in.