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Memorial project moves forward

FAIRMONT — On Tuesday the Martin County Commissioners went through some action items pertaining to ongoing work at the Martin County Veterans Memorial. The board approved a motion authorizing consultation with Bolton and Menk Inc. for the design of trench-footings for the installation of the retaining wall on the backside of the main memorial wall.

The board also approved a bid from Boekett Building Supply in the amount of $3,910 for additional landscape blocks to be installed at the memorial. In addition, the board approved and authorized proceeding with construction of a ship’s bow wall project at the memorial and to request formal written approval from the City of Fairmont Building Inspector if a permit is required for the ship’s bow wall project.

Finally, the board approved the temporary installation of the Cobra Helicopter 327 bronze dedication plaque to be placed at the northeast corner of the current helicopter foundation pad at the memorial site, until it can be permanently placed. The action also authorized working with the city of Fairmont for required permits and plaque display posts.

Chuck Mixson of the Martin County Veterans Committee shared with the board that he recognizes there were problems along the way, resulting in some additional costs for the project.

“The original bids that I gave for the contract from the contractors that have been with us from the start, not realizing that with state bonding bill requirements, I had not taken into account the prevailing wages that come along with the bonding bill.

“We were going to build a four-foot retaining wall in the back. I was under the impression that we didn’t need engineering, only to find out that the footings are considered a part of the wall which would make it an eight-foot wall, not a four-foot wall.

“I volunteered to help install the decorative stone-work and I also found out that we have to double the material costs, even though we use volunteer labor, for the permits. It is the generosity of our original contactors and my shortcoming as a volunteer contractor that are causing some of these over-runs. For this I apologize, because good intentions don’t always result in positive outcomes.”

Mixson shared with the board a couple of options in order to move forward on the project.

“At this point, I already dug the foundations for the whole project. We were going to use a six-inch classic straight charcoal base with six-inch classic straight charcoal walls. We were just coming up to two inches short of four feet. We came to find out the manufacturer highly recommends that we use a GeoGrid behind that.

“I talked to the engineer at Bolton and Menk and they were very generous in jumping on this right away for us. As far as the retaining wall and the parts that go with it, we have two options as far as I see it.”

Mixson shared that the first option would include filling the existing trench that has already been dug and moving the base out further from the wall so that it is on solid ground. The second option was to use the existing trench, get cement footings engineered and pour the cement.

Mixson also shared that the ship’s bow project also presented some challenges.

“If we put dirt behind the wall like we originally planned, we would have to re-dig the foundation because we would have to put a two-inch base on the bottom before we put our footings in,” he said. “This is because the weight of the dirt on top of that two-foot platform is what keeps the wall from tilting if you get too much rainwater and the dirt gets too heavy.

“If we engineered the whole thing it would be $1,000 to $1,500 to have that engineered. Then we’d have to put footings in, which would be more expensive because we were just going to pour the trench before.” Mixson went on to offer additional information before the board made its decisions.

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