City seeks demolition cost

Published 8:58 pm Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The city of Suffolk wants to find out how much it would cost to demolish the former Navy Radio Transmitter Facility off of Sleepy Hole Road, but it has not yet committed to doing it.

In the request for information that was issued Monday, the city stated that it seeks companies to provide non-binding estimates for the demolition of the World War II-era facility. It was abandoned and deeded to the city 17 years ago and is the projected site of the so-called Driver Sports Complex, although city officials have already suggested that may be a misnomer.

The request for information notes that the estimates are for budgeting purposes only, and that salvage value of the materials should be considered in the estimate. The city will request about 25 percent of the crushed concrete be left onsite.

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If the city decides, ultimately, to demolish the facility, it will issue a formal invitation to bid.

The city will host a site visit at 10 a.m. Feb. 14 for those interested in submitting a bid and touring the property. Anyone who tours the property will be asked to sign a liability release.

“The facility does not have utilities and is extremely neglected,” the request for information states, “so persons touring the facility are advised to dress appropriately and encouraged to bring flashlights or other means of illumination.”

The estimates are due to the city by 3 p.m. Feb. 28.

The city held two community input meetings last October to gather information on updating the 2005 Master Plan for the Driver Sports Complex.

City Parks and Recreation Director Mark Furlo and consultants helping shape the vision for the 380-acre park said not to expect it to be something that would draw high traffic volumes.

“Any funds that are made at the property have to stay or be reinvested in the property,” Furlo said at one of the meetings at the North Suffolk Public Library. “So any money made out there has to be directly put back into the property. … We know the roads are an issue, and we know we can’t accommodate big events or things that are going to generate a lot of traffic to that property.”

The meetings were held to gauge the public’s interest on developing the park for outdoor recreation, sports, conservation education, passive recreation and water activities. Roughly 75 people turned out for the two meetings last fall.

In the master plan, it looked at recreational facilities across the city, but it also got community feedback, according to Steve Torgerson, director of landscape architecture and design with A. Morton Thomas and Associates. He noted that referring to the site as the Driver Sports Complex doesn’t accurately reflect what could go on the site.

The city was deeded the project site after the 1993 Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommended closing the former transmitting facility.

Any demolition of the buildings on the site would require significant asbestos abatement. As part of the request for information, the city attached a 35-page report from Applied Laboratory Services dated Oct. 7, 2003 on the former Naval Radio Transmitting Facility.