EDA approves grounds maintenance bid

Published 9:48 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Suffolk Economic Development Authority has accepted a bid of more than $17,000 from Suffolk-based Escape 2 Eden LLC for its industrial park grounds maintenance.

The term of the contract runs from May 1 through Oct. 31, 2020, with the city reserving the option to renew the contract for two additional one-year periods that would end by Oct. 31, 2022.

The EDA budgeted $35,000 for grounds maintenance in the current budget, and has $35,000 budgeted for it in the 2019-2020 budget cycle.

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“This bid does have some very favorable numbers for us,” said Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes at the EDA’s May 8 meeting, “so there’s a good chance we don’t spend the whole ($35,000) this go-round.”

The company has done work for the city in the past, Hughes said. Escape 2 Eden will provide grounds maintenance service on an as-needed basis for Suffolk Industrial Park, Northgate Commerce Park, Wilroy Industrial Park and 1900 N. Main St., which is the former Obici Hospital site.

Bids ranged from Escape 2 Eden’s winning bid of $17,043.20 bid, to two bids that were just over $35,000.

Hughes also discussed Suffolk Public Schools’ School-to-Work partnership, which recently paired students from Nansemond River High School with Sysco Hampton Roads. Students toured Sysco’s Harbour View facility and attended special education sessions.

“We’ve been trying to figure out how best to connect with the business community and the school system,” Hughes said. “We now have some official partnerships, or soon-to-be-official partnerships, with Target and Sysco Foods, and we hope to continue to roll it out where the school system helps us find 17- and 18-year-olds in the Career and Technical Education program that have an interest in learning more about it.”

So far, Hughes said, it has been very well received, but he said there are some logistical hurdles in expanding the partnership.

“There’s a gap that realistically exists between what the business community wants, what the business community can commit from a time perspective, and then, like for a mentorship, put the time, effort and safety, and things of that nature, into a worthwhile mentorship,” Hughes said. “And then you combine it with the school system, and their scheduling and testing, permissions and today’s kind of litigious society and approvals, et cetera, we’ve had to, unfortunately, go for it in a little simpler approach.”