Saturday, April 10, 2010
THE PEREZ "LEGACY OF INCOMPETENCE" CONTINUES
above,Eddie Perez leaving court
above, A portion of the collapsed facade of Perez's "new" Public Safety Complex
It has been a bad week for Mayor Eddie Perez. His defense motions in Superior Court collapsed around him as they were denied, the Town Committee vote for Perez's handpicked chairperson collapsed as Sean Arena was defeated, and now Perez's Public Safety Complex is literally collapsing. Not a good week at Camp Perez.
Many people may have forgotten about the debacle Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez created when he attempted to build a school at the corner of Farmington and Broad Streets. In defiance of "advice" from the State of Connecticut, Perez began construction on the property after he was told that it was an improper use of the lot.
Perez moved forward and I guess decided to show Governor Rell who is in charge of Hartford's destiny. (how's that working for you Eddie?). In the end, an estimated $4 million dollars was squandered by Perez for a school that never happened.
In the meantime, another construction project began a few blocks north of the Farmington Avenue sight on High Street. After another three or four staged media events by Perez disguised as "groundbreakings", work began on the Hartford Public Safety Complex. The existing structure of the old Hartford Board of Education building was going to be "saved" and used as the facade of the Complex.
Preservation of Hartford's history and architecture is important as we continue to knock down so much of what has made Hartford a beautiful and interesting city. Many of our buildings have been allowed to slide into a state of disrepair, even the Board of Ed building. And many of these buildings are actually owned by the City of Hartford and eventually end up being torn down, such as the Lyric Theatre on Park Street.
Now it seems that the Hartford Board of Ed/"new' Public Safety Complex will suffer the same fate.
With the amount of highly paid construction "experts" in the Mayor's Office, one would think that they would be able to get a project done correctly. Maybe too much time is being spent in their luxury SUV's rather than actually reviewing construction projects.
Perez proved his construction incompetence almost immediately after becoming Mayor when the cost overruns, construction delays, labor problems and shoddy workmanship delayed Hartford Public High School by years and ran millions of dollars over projected costs. And as recently as to the present day as Capitol Prep School's opening has been delayed for over a year by construction issues (picture below).
Last fall I posted that large portions the the facade being saved for the "new" Public Saftey Complex had collapsed. Eventually WFSB also did a story on it, and as I recall, they reported that the Mayor and his staff had reassured Channel 3 that everything was fine and structurally sound. At a cost of roughly $2 million dollars the remaining walls had been shored up with large steel beams. Here is the original post from November 14, 2009
Although no real progress is visible on the sight except for a few pieces of construction equipment that never seem to move, we were assured that construction was moving forward.
About a week and a half ago I stopped at the sight and saw the entire front entryway which made up a large portion of the front facade has now also collapsed. Calls for comment regarding the future of the structure to the Mayor's mouthpiece, I mean Director of Communications Sarah Barr, were unanswered.
Apparently now though, Steve Goode of the Hartford Courant and firstname.lastname@example.org has been told by city officials that the entire structure is unsound and will be torn down. To read Steve's posting, click here to go to cityline
I'm not a construction engineer, but it seemed pretty obvious from the start that it didn't make sense to handle a 120 year old structure this way and expect it to remain standing. All of the interior walls and support for the structure were gutted and removed initially. After that was done all of the roof and all of the roof trusses and beams were removed, leaving the century old walls to stand on their own.
I guess that plan didn't work too well. It makes you wonder if the plan was ever supposed to work from the start or is it another corrupt scheme hatched in the Mayor's Office as posters here have hinted.
The other major question is how this project was ever going to be completed. At the time that "construction" (or destruction, depending on your level of confidence with Eddie Perez) began, it was stated that $28 million in funding was in place for the projected $88 million price tag for the project. Where was the other $60 million to complete the project coming from?
I for one can't wait for a change in administration that can actually get in and audit every penny spent by Perez's corrupt administration (oh yeah, allegedly). In the meantime I'm pretty confident the shredders are running overtime.