The Riverside Village Board approved yet another addition to the Historic Water Tower restoration project at its meeting Monday night, authorizing new work orders that could total almost $40,000 and increasing the overall budget by about $16,000.
Public Works Director Mike Hullihan said most of the new work orders are necessary costs associated with unanticipated problems. For example, it was discovered that the stained glass window in the northeast well house could not be removed for restoration. Therefore, it will have to be restored on-site, which will cost an estimated $2,633.
In addition, Hullihan said, two steel panels at the top of the water tank on the tower were virtually falling off and extra reinforcements had to be installed to reattach them to the tank. These repairs cost approximately $11,000.
The largest portion of these latest costs, however, was associated with the brick mineral coating on the water tower. Hullihan said there had been difficulties in finding a mineral coating that would match the colors of the water tower from the early nineteenth century. This has caused planners to change their color scheme plans for the tower by adding another brick color. These revisions have increased costs by almost $15,000.
With these changes, the restoration project has gone over its $1.24 million budget by $15,917, exceeding a contingency fund that originally provided for $80,000 in extra costs. Hullihan said there would likely be additional extra costs as well, for asbestos and lead removal, but said the differences are not serious.
“Even assuming that at the end we’re $35,000 over, which is being generous, that would only be a 2.8 percent difference,” he said, in a separate interview. “We’ll stay within a couple percentage points of the original budget.”
There is also a chance that not all of the approved work orders will be implemented. Three of the proposals approved Monday night are optional projects, Hullihan said, and the Preservation Commission will ultimately decide whether they should be included. They include adding a roof curb to the west flat roof of the pump house to hold a future HVAC unit and cleaning paint and carbon residue off of masonry in the northeast well house. These optional projects make up approximately $8,500 of the total work order requests.
Hullihan also noted to the board that there have been some cost-saving measures taken by Public Works over the course of the project. The department has been able to complete some of the work in-house; for example, village staff installed a power vent to the northeast well house, saving the village almost $8,000.
Despite the additional work orders, Hullihan said, the project has remained on schedule to be finished at the end of September.
Condominium ordinance tabled
In other news, the board also delayed a vote for the second time on an ordinance regulating the conversion of apartment buildings into condominium complexes, a practice that has become increasingly popular in Riverside in recent years.
According to Village Manager Kathleen Rush, the purpose of the ordinance is to ensure the rights of tenants and buyers during the conversion process. Among other things, it details exactly what developers must provide to the village to receive approval for a conversion project, when they must notify their tenants about the impending project, and it secures tenants the right of first purchase for their units.
A draft of this ordinance was first presented to the board in January, but it was sent back to village staff with a few requests for modifications. At the meeting on Monday, further changes were made, the most notable being that the fee for processing a project application was changed from a flat fee of $250 to $100 per unit being converted. There was also confusion among board members as to whether this ordinance would apply to conversion projects already underway at the time of its adoption.
Given this uncertainty, Trustee John Scully urged the board to delay the vote for one more month in order to alert developers to the changes in the ordinance and allow them the chance to comment on it.