Last updated: August 24. 2013 9:44AM - 185 Views

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Train depot project a colossal waste

I performed some cabling work on train depot/hotel project when it was first “rehabbed.” Both buildings were in tear-down condition.

This project was a scam on the people of Lima and now another $1 million-plus is being spent to keep it from falling down.

Who is accountable for the shoddy work performed originally by the engineering firm and/or the construction contractor? The same engineering firm has been paid again for the repair of these structures.

I’ve always heard the excuse that this was financed by utility payments rather than tax dollars. Those paying for water and sewer are also Lima taxpayers. The fact that the Utilities Department had so much extra money (to waste) shows that utility rates were higher than needed and taxpayers could have benefited from lower rates.

As this project was ramrodded through, the former West Ohio Gas Co. building was donated to the city. The train depot/hotel project was pressed forward and the donated building was sold. The donated building was in a more convenient location, was in move-in condition, and had plenty of parking. A prudent city administration would have scrapped the train depot/hotel project and used the “free” building for the Utilities Department.

Instead, the ill-conceived, overpriced, restoration project was chosen. This project was a foregone conclusion in the mind of our mayor and nothing was going to stop its progress. Not even a better, no-cost building, generously donated to the city of Lima.

These buildings will drain the resources of our Utilities Department for decades to come. Some buildings are just not salvageable. These buildings fall into that category.

— Steven L. Burkholder, Lima

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