Columbus Council failed to approve entering into agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation to build public restrooms beneath the east end of the Frank Martin Memorial Bridge.
The motion died on an inconclusive vote of 5-2 with Councilors Judy Thomas and Pops Barnes voting against the project and Councilors Skip Henderson, Mimi Woodson, Evelyn Turner-Pugh, Glenn Davis and Bruce Huff voting for it.
Because the vote was inconclusive, so the motion was neither passed nor defeated, it will be brought back before council in April.
Only Davis brought up the project’s cost, $244,000, but in the end voted in favor of it.
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Of the cost, the DOT would pay 80 percent of the cost, or about $195,000. The city’s share would be about $49,000, city officials say.
City Planning Director Rick Jones pointed out that the local funds for the project would not come out of the city's General Fund, but from a grant obtained for the bridge project. Because they are grant funds for that project, they cannot be used anywhere else in the city for any other project.
The project was first brought before council two weeks ago, but after several councilors balked at the price tag, it was tabled until more information could be presented to justify the price.
The restroom would be about 900 square feet and would feature vandal resistant doors and fixtures, Jones said.
The contract is with Scott Bridge Co. for $243,861 for the entire project. Scott Bridge is subcontracting the bathroom work out to River City Construction, which will build the actual restrooms in the concrete-walled space beneath the eastern end of the bridge for $159,450.
Other costs include concrete and rebar work ($11,808), manhole work ($4265), testing ($4,600), electrical and lighting ($22,128), concrete sidewalks ($16,200) and a project manager fee ($8,835).
The nearest public restroom is about a half-mile south, so citizens visiting the Martin Bridge would half to walk a mile there and back for a restroom break.