Weddington’s downtown streetscape plans may become a reality as early as April, according to Buzz Bizzell, designer and owner of Charlotte-based Bizzell Design, providing a contract is ready to go next week.
A signed contract marks what is hopefully the last major obstacle in a three-year effort to mark town entrances with gateways labeled “Weddington,” and add banners adorning downtown lamp stands. The town council voted in November to spend up to $210,000 for the project, including installation.
At the Town Council’s special meeting Monday, Jan. 17, members seemed uncertain whether the council needed to vote on a specific contract presented to them earlier, or whether the Planning Board was going to take care of this task. Members also asked for clarification about the council’s role in any subcontracting work for the project.
“We want to make sure the contracts are ready before we start writing checks,” Mayor Nancy Anderson said.
According to Bizzell, any contract signed allows Bizzell’s firm to assist the town in selecting subcontractors. Bizzell told the board and Weddington Planning Board member Scott Buzzard that Weddington, and not the design firm, is in charge of subcontracting arrangements and their subsequent contract negotiations.
“Towns usually handle these subcontract payments in the form of purchase orders,” Bizzell said.
Council member Jerry McKee advised Buzzard to remove language from the contract that might make the town responsible for any damages if incorrect utility markers lead to problems.
An undercurrent of frustration was apparent during the discussion, with Anderson saying, “The council was under impression it didn’t need to see contracts anymore” and that this task was “in the hands of those staff and planning board members authorized to sign off and get started with the work.”
Buzzard acknowledged a learning curve during this process and agreed, going forward, the planning board would negotiate details and contracts with subcontractors.
In the end, the motion to authorize staff and planning board members to prepare and authorize contracts and purchase orders passed unanimously.
Residents should expect to see flags waving soon.