Bids in for utility extension to Kroger, Sky Ranch

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(Posted Jan. 23, 2019)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

West Jefferson officials are happy with the bids submitted for extension of water and sewer lines to newly annexed land on the east side of the village, where Kroger plans to build a Fresh Eats store and Harmony Development Group is planning a large multi-use development.

“Both bids were good, real good,” said John Mitchell, public service director.

Two companies submitted bids for the project, which calls for extending water and sewer lines 2,800 feet east to the intersection of State Route 142 and U.S. Route 40. The lines will go under Little Darby Creek.

The cost estimate for the project was $2.325 million. J&J Schlaegel Inc. out of Urbana submitted a base bid of $1,563,122. Underground Utilities Inc. out of Monroeville submitted a base bid of $2,016,045. Both bids included alternate bids for different pipe materials. The bids were opened on Jan. 22.

This was the second time the project was put out to bid. Last year, when Kroger bid out the project, prices came back at about $2.6 million. The parties involved decided to try again this year, with the village putting the project out to bid. If the village accepts the lower of the two bids that came in last week, the difference from the first time around will be approximately $1 million.

Choice One Engineering will review the bids and make a recommendation to the village on which company should get the contract. The contract will then go to village council for a vote.

Prior to the vote, village leaders will discuss the contract with Kroger, which has agreed to pay for up to $1.738 million of the project. The village has agreed to pay Kroger back with water and sewer tap-in fees assessed on anyone who taps into the extended utility lines. This includes units in Sky Ranch at Darby Creek, the multi-use development going in across from the Kroger store.

Kroger’s Fresh Eats store will sit on the northeast corner of routes 142 and 40. The 12,000 square-foot convenience store and gas station will sell fresh produce, meat and bakery items, canned and dry goods, and prepared foods. It is expected that the store also will include a Starbucks coffee shop, a flower shop and a pharmacy.

As for when the store will be completed, Mitchell said, “I don’t know exactly, but I would say definitely this year.”

Sky Ranch at Darby Creek will sit on 395 acres owned by Russ Miller on the southeast corner of routes 142 and 40. The 1,000 homes planned for the development include a mix of single-family homes, patio homes, condominiums and apartments. Home prices will start in the low $200,000s. Homes near the property’s runway will include parking spaces for airplanes and could cost roughly $800,000.

The timeline for the water and sewer line extension project depends on contractor schedules and weather, said Jeff Puthoff of Choice One Engineering. The work could be done as early as this summer, if conditions and schedules are favorable, Mitchell said. The bid requires that all work be finalized no later than Nov. 29 of this year.

Karl Billisits of Harmony Development Group said work on Sky Ranch’s roads, storm water system and utilities will start when the village’s water and sewer line extension work starts. He said the first homes could start to go up late this year.

“This was a key component to getting going,” Billisits said of the water and sewer extension project. “There were permit and environmental concerns to get through. It took a while for it to happen… We’re excited to get going.”

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