Lockport settles lawsuit over Main Street reconstruction - The Buffalo News

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Lockport settles lawsuit over Main Street reconstruction

LOCKPORT – The Common Council voted last week to settle a long-running lawsuit left over from the reconstruction of Main Street nearly a decade ago.

The city, which had withheld $70,000 from the general contractor, Man O’ Trees, agreed to pay the Buffalo company $15,000 by Dec. 31.

In turn, Man O’ Trees was to use the money toward a payment of $25,000 it will make to a subcontractor, Ferguson Electric of Buffalo.

That firm complained it wasn’t fully paid for its work on the 2004-05 project, which cost $3.3 million.

Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said the city held back some money from Man O’ Trees because of dissatisfaction with the work, which converted Main Street from a four-lane street to a two-lane street with a median down the middle.

Ottaviano said the money wasn’t paid because the city found the “brick” crosswalks at intersections, actually made of stamped concrete, were crumbling soon after their installation.

Man O’ Trees said the city didn’t maintain the crosswalks properly because it didn’t spray them with the necessary sealant.

Norman D. Allen, city director of engineering and public works, joined the city in the midst of the project and made the decision to withhold payment of the $70,000.

“It was work that was deficient or defective,” he said.

Allen acknowledged the city at first did not spray the sealant on the crosswalks, but he said it now does so every two years. He said the city’s view was that Man O’ Trees should have sprayed the first application of sealant.

In another matter last week, the Council voted to borrow $650,000 to pay the costs of demolishing the burned-out remains of a 19th-century stone-and-brick building that burned July 30.

The former Kohl’s Cycle Sales at 71 Gooding St., also known as the Wisniewski building, was gutted in a suspicious fire.

Ironically, the city had obtained a state grant to raze the 53,360-square-foot building before the fire, but the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation blocked the project.

The city, having virtually no fund balance, as a recent State Comptroller’s Office report noted, had little choice but to use a 10-year bond issue to pay off the demolition of the two-story structure.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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