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Bidding goes awry on Lockport parking ramp demolition

LOCKPORT – Friday’s opening of bids for the demolition of the closed downtown Lockport parking ramp featured an error that could cost the city $190,000, produce a lawsuit, or both.

Scott Lawn Yard of Sanborn submitted the lowest bid, $987,000, for demolition and replacement of the ramp with a 42-space surface parking lot on Main Street near Pine Street.

The problem was that Scott’s bid was handed in late, after a city employee allegedly told the Scott representative that the bid had to be presented at the Buffalo office of Conestoga-Rovers & Associates, the company that designed the project.

That was wrong information, and by the time the Scott employee returned from Buffalo, he had missed the 2 p.m. deadline.

“We were there at 1,” said Scott Lawn Yard co-owner Scott Miller. “We were in the right place. We were turned around by a secretary for the city.” Mayor Michael W. Tucker said it happened “upstairs,” meaning at an office on the second floor of City Hall. But he noted that Scott Lawn Yard has bid on several city contracts in the past and should know the procedure. The bid documents say the bids were to be delivered to City Hall.

“Very clearly, it says where the bids are going to be opened,” Tucker said. He said he would have to consult with Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano about the situation. Ottaviano did not return a call seeking comment.

Miller said he wanted to pursue the matter in some fashion.

The lowest bid of the nine handed in by 2 p.m. came from Empire Dismantlement of Grand Island at $1.17 million, which is $190,000 more than Scott’s offer.

Also, there were five bids for electrical work at the site. Industrial Power and Lighting of Buffalo was the apparent low bidder at $71,000.

The bids must be acted upon by the Common Council, presumably at its April 17 meeting.

Tucker said the package was budgeted at $1.6 million. He expects demolition to begin in late April and take two or three weeks. The construction of the surface lot will ensue, with its opening targeted for the first week of July.