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Wednesday June 1st, 2016 3:42AM

Construction halted on Helen Island redevelopment

By Rob Moore Reporter
HELEN - Work on the Island redevelopment project in Helen has been halted and will remain stopped for more than a week.

"I have some bad news on our Island area project," City Manager Jerry Elkins announced Tuesday. "Anytime you do over an acre of land disturbance you're required to file with EPD a notice of intent, and then they have 14 days to either approve it or get back with you with whatever changes."

On this project in Helen, that didn't happen.

"Our contractors inadvertently failed to file that notice of intent before they started work, so we've had to stop that work," Elkins said.

In response to a question from Commissioner Helen Wilkins, Elkins said work was stopped last Thursday, and he is hopeful work can resume in about 10 days.

"They got everything filled out and we put it out in the mail to EPD Friday morning," Elkins said. "They have it, and are reviewing it."

Even though the city engineer caught the problem rather than it being discovered by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, "There's a possibility that the city could be fined for this," Elkins said.

"Well, I would think so," said Mayor Judy Holloway. "Anybody else would have been!"

Wilkins asked how the contractor overlooked filing the notice of intent.

"The contractor forgot it," Elkins said. "Basically, they said if the city did receive any type of corrective action for this that they would take care of it."

Elkins said the contractor has assured the city it will pay any fines associated with the failure to file the notice of intent, but that doesn't allow the project to proceed any sooner.

"It's going to delay the project a couple of weeks," Elkins said.

After more than a dozen years of planning, ground was broken on the Island redevelopment in October.

The area, so named in the 1970s because it included a mote at that time, is located below Helen City Hall between Main Street and Edelweiss Strasse.

The work, being performed with Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax proceeds, is designed to enhance the area by providing a street, sidewalks, streetlights and 64 free parking spaces.

Phase 1, which is from Bodensee on Munich Strasse to Narr Weg between Country Inn and Suites and The Hayloft, is set to be completed early this year.
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