By Seth Schmidt
The expense to Tracy taxpayers for demolishing the former Masonic Temple building will be far less than originally thought.
Monday night, Tracy City Council members awarded a $54,950 contract to Noomen Excavating of Currie to raze the downtown landmark. The contract comes with the stipulation that demolition materials can be dumped into a shallow hole at the city’s yard and garden compost site, and then covered. State regulators have granted the city permission to use the site.
Noomen submitted the lowest bid among six contractors for a demolition using the nearby city site. Thompson Excavating of Minneota had the second lowest bid at $56,741. The other four bidders submitted costs of $94,444 to $179,000.
If Tracy had not been allowed to use its compost site for disposing the demolition rubble, and contractors had to provide their own disposal site, Thompson Excavating would have been the low bidder at $74,641. Noomen Excavating had the second lowest bid $104,761 for a non-Tracy disposal site. The four other non-Tracy disposal bids ranged from $138,600 to $250,000.
The City of Tracy will also have about $10,500 in permitting fees. Additionally, the council plans to spend $1,500 for compaction tests, to ensure that the razed site is suitable for building.
When the demolition of the Masonic building takes place is uncertain. The contractor has 30 days to complete the job after getting an “order to proceed.” Council members decided to wait giving the order, until the needed state disposal permits are in hand.
City Administrator Madonna Peterson indicated that Wheels Across the Prairie Museum volunteers would get a final opportunity to salvage any additional fixtures or materials from the building.
The contract with Noomen includes the demolition of the VAST Communications building directly north of the Masonic property. The Tracy Economic Development Authority has an $8,000 option to purchase the property, because of the expense of requiring a contractor to protect the much smaller building. EDA members considered the possibility of moving the VAST building, but found that to be not feasible economically. Kyleen Olson Photography is the current tenant in the VAST building.
The EDA can borrow up to $290,000 in a long-term, low-interest state loan program to finance the Masonic demolition.