Bray Construction wins first contract under Paris’ $45 million infrastructure bond issue

Less than 12 months after Paris residents approved an historic $45 million infrastructure bond issue, the Paris City Council on Monday awarded the first contract — replacement of decades-old asbestos concrete lines that supply water to Kimberly Clark, Turner Pipe and Next Era Energy.

From left, assembled informally in city council chambers Monday, were city clerk Janice Ellis and council members Cleonne  Drake, Sue Lancaster, Dr. Richard Grossnickle, Aaron Jenkins, Dr. AJ Hashmi and John Wright. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)

From left, assembled informally in city council chambers Monday, were city clerk Janice Ellis and council members Cleonne
Drake, Sue Lancaster, Dr. Richard Grossnickle, Aaron Jenkins, Dr. AJ Hashmi and John Wright. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)

In a meeting that lasted 15 minutes, the council voted unanimously to award the contract  to Barney Bray, owner of B. Bray Construction of Paris, whose bid of $1,867,769 was 4.2 percent below the bid of $1,949,370 by Pittard Construction Company of Allen.

Aecom, the city’s engineer for the bond issue, had estimated construction costs at $2 million.

“It’s really a great day in our history. It’s the first step in the big bond issue that we have undertaken, and I’m very happy that one of the local contractors has gotten the job. I have no doubt it will be done appropriately,” Mayor AJ Hashmi said.

“I’m very happy that the job was bid at lower than what was anticipated. It will give us about $150,000 extra to spend on other projects. Hopefully we are able to do bigger and better projects for the city, and this is just the beginning of it.”

The contract is for five water replacement projects in southwest Paris:

  • Southwest 19th Street, from the railroad tracks to the southwest loop;
  • Along the southwest loop, from Southwest 19th Street to Southwest 7th Street;
  • Southwest 7th Street, from Southwest Loop 286 north to Field Road;
  • Cross-country from Field Road to Southwest 13th Street, then north to West Washington Street;
  • Southeast 3rd, from the south loop to Church Street.

The five projects are among 15 “Tier 1″ projects at the top of a list of 89 infrastructure projects the council earmarked in October.

“All parts of the city are equally important, but I think it is important that southwest Paris is being paid attention to,” Hashmi said.

“There are maybe not as many homes in these five projects, but it serves a lot of industries in the area, and hopefully those areas that have felt they were neglected are not going to be neglected anymore,” he said.

The mayor said citizens will be watching this project closely because of a water line replacement job — not part of the infrastructure bond issue — that not only has failed to meet quality expectations but is two months overdue.

“It is very important that things we have learned in the recent past don’t happen and that this job is done in a fine way,” Hashmi said.

Shawn Napier, the city’s director of community development and engineering, noted that Bray is currently a subcontractor on another job for the city.

“I believe Barney has used 18 percent of his time and he has 33 percent of the work done. That tells you something right there,” Napier said.

Asked about projected start date and completion date for the project, Napier said it’s a 240-day contract.

“I think we’re talking about a start date of early to mid-May, which would take us somewhere just after the first of the year,” Napier said.

That’s more than adequate time, Bray told the council.

Napier said the next contract — second of five — in the bond issue will address water and sewer needs of several older west Paris neighborhoods and will probably be put out for bids in May.

That one will be about twice as large, Napier said, replacing about 50,000 linear feet of water and sewer lines. The contract just awarded is for replacement of about 23,000 linear feet of water line.

By Charles Richards, eParisExtra


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About the Author

Charles Richards Charles Richards moved to Paris in 2004 after retiring from a 40-year career in journalism – the last 26 years as a news writer and sports writer with The Associated Press in Dallas and Washington, D.C. In mid-2004, The Paris News coaxed him out of retirement, and he began covering the police, court and regional beat for The Paris News. Then in early 2005, he was switched to coverage of a sharply divided Paris City Council. He was appointed by the City Council in 2006 to the 12-member City Charter Review Commission, which extensively rewrote the outmoded document. His writing awards include two first-place awards in statewide competition for feature writing. The most recent was his 2005 story on a Paris doctor’s startling use of leeches in a successful attempt to re-attach a man’s severed ear. Over his career, Richards’ interview subjects include Alabama Gov. George Wallace, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, David Koresh, Arnold Palmer, Muhammad Ali and numerous other political and sports figures. He is an alumnus of Texas Tech, where he was editor of the school newspaper. He lives in Paris with his wife, Barbara, who is retired after 30 years as a teacher and high school counselor.