Council approves Tiger’s Den demolition

August 14, 2014 —

The Hudson City Council has wrestled for years over doing something about the deteriorated Tiger’s Den building on North Church Street, but the end of the battle may be in sight.

The building was damaged by fire several years ago, and was declared a hazard — but numerous roadblocks came up over the years, including the building being sold at a tax sale, with the new owner unwilling to do anything about it. The city eventually managed to acquire the building and still had more hoops to jump through before they could put the demolition of the building out for bid last month.

At the meeting of the Hudson City Council last week, City Manager Steve Hartsel said that in spite of considerable effort to entice bidders, only one bid had been received, from Eric Rising Excavating of Hudson, for a price of $72,400 — well over the $60,000 figure that had been estimated for removal of the structure.

Hartsel explained that ads seeking bids had been put in numerous places around the region, and that he had contacted several companies personally. “Things are not like they were a year ago,” he told the meeting, going on to say that even a year ago contractors were willing, even anxious, to take on jobs with marginal profit potential just to have the work. But, that’s not true any more — most contractors are as busy as they want to be and are having troubles finding workers. What’s more, he went on to say, there’s no guarantee that things would be enough better in the near future to expect more bids if the project were to be put out to bid again.

In the end, the council agreed to go ahead and accept the bid, with the hope of being done with the project.

The Downtown Development Authority will share $30,000 of the cost of the project.

The Council also agreed to a Michigan Department of Transportation proposal for construction of the Engle Trail, planned for later this summer. While the actual bidding for this proposal is done by MDOT the city has to sign off on the bids, which, like the Tiger’s Den, came in higher than expected with fewer bidders than hoped. The project came in at a price of $180,696.70. Of that figure, $120,000 will be funded through a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant, similar to other trail work done in recent years around the city.

In other business at last Tuesday’s meeting, the council:
• Voted to reappoint Amy Hill and Kim Decker to the Recreational Advisory Board
• Approved closing a section of Railroad Street for the fourth annual Firefighter’s Field Day
• Agreed to the purchase of software for administration of Maple Grove Cemetery. The records for the cemetery have been kept by hand until now, and there is no backup in case of disaster. The city staff will face a big job in putting over 150 years of records into computer files.
• Approved the purchase of new ballistic vests for the police department. It’s recommended that the vests be replaced after five years, but the current vests are over ten years old. The purchase of the new vests is partially funded by a federal grant. Some vests were replaced two years ago, and this purchase completes the project. The purchase was made through Armor Express and CMP Distributors for $3,475.00.
• Approved the purchase of equipment for fitting out the recently purchased police car. The bid went to Adrian Communications, the lowest of three bidders, for $8,181.16

City Manager Hartsel also announced to the council that the State Housing Development authority has provisionally approved a grant of $421,893 for the first round of the Downtown Rental Rehabilitation Project. This will cover the rehabilitation of approximately a dozen upstairs apartments in the downtown district.