Rising costs impacting Hendersonville’s projects

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 6:06 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Just like everyone, cities are also feeling the cost of inflation.

Hendersonville’s mayor said his city is also feeling the financial squeeze and it’s impacting what infrastructure projects get the green light first.

“We had these projects on our list for several years and as we get closer and closer to them, we’re finding out that they’re going to cost a lot more than estimated,” Hendersonville Mayor Jamie Clary said.

One of the projects is a fire hall on the north side of Hendersonville. Clary said the increase in bids they are receiving is 92% higher than estimates.

“We have to build the fire hall,” Clary said.

He is determined to get this project done, but it’s not going to cost the $2.5 million they thought it would.

“We got one bid in and we had several bids at that, and it came in at $4.2 million was the lowest bid,” Clary said. “we’ve got to build that fire hall. This is specifically due to growth happening in the northern part of the city. We have a poor response time compared to other parts of the city.”

The fire hall is just one of the infrastructure projects that’s been on the city’s list for several years to get completed.

“I lived here for 26 years and I would say for the last 15 to 20 years I’ve heard about the greenway,” Eddie Anderson, owner of Sanders Ferry Pizza & Pub, said. “The greenway would be a great asset to the community. It would be a great asset to the lake.”

Anderson’s business is next to the area planned for the Sanders Ferry Greenway on Sanders Ferry Road. The greenway is another project costing the city more to get done now.

“We had anticipated that it would cost us $1.7 million. The only bid we received for that was $4.2 million,” Clary said. “That is a 140% increase.”

“Definitely understand inflation in today’s world. It’s just a part of it. Everyone is dealing with it,” Anderson said. “I can only imagine how much more the construction cost of building something like that would be at this point. I hope they can figure out how they can make it happen and get it done because it would be an exciting addition to the lake.”

Clary said to get the greenway paid for, the city would be looking to get grants.

“We have a couple of streams of revenues and grants. We’re going to be going back to those agencies who provide the grants and ask them for money. If the answer is no, it’s a tough decision for us,” Clary said.

Clary said the city is paying more because it’s costing construction companies more.

“Two reasons for that. One, their cost has gone up and the second reason is they think their cost is going to go up,” Clary said. “When it comes to materials, what they’ve got to buy in the near future, they anticipate those materials are going to be his by inflation also. They are building extra cushion into their bids and it’s costing us more money.”

Paying more now means other projects get pushed back.

“We’ve got some road projects we had anticipated would be built in the current fiscal year and the next fiscal year, and some of the smaller ones, we’re going to have to put those off because we need the money that the city is putting into that project,” Clary said. “We need that money to make up the cost overruns or the bids for those other projects, and we just have to reprioritize. Part of that reprioritization is what’s happening right now. It’s not only what’s safe or more important but also what’s happening right now.”

Clary said he understands possible frustration from people about this.

“When they see prices going up for them at the grocery store and the gas station, it’s happening to us when it comes to pavement and when it comes to construction materials,” Clary said. “To me, it’s very frustrating to talk to somebody that I talked to two years ago about a project we want to build today and we’ve got to put that off.”

Clary said this isn’t just a Hendersonville issue. He said he’s recently had conversations with other mayors in other cities and they are having the same problems as well.

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