One of the Altenheim buildings that will be demolished by KLF Enterprises. | File photo

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Demolition of the dilapidated Altenheim buildings will be done by KLF Enterprises Inc., the lowest responsible bidder of nine contractors who submitted bids to do the work. KLF Enterprises’ bid on demolition, environmental abatement, and all other work described in the request for bids is $546,970. The next lowest bid was $660,000.

The project includes demolition of five structures and environmental abatement for asbestos for all except the garage, which is newer than the others and doesn’t contain dangerous substances. Work will also include grading the site after the buildings are done and putting down topsoil and seed.

Christopher B. Burke Engineering Ltd. (CBBEL), Forest Park’s contracted village engineers, estimated the project would cost $700,000, and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) grant that will repay the village for the work is for $750,000. It is a reimbursement grant, so there will be no “leftovers” for the village after the work is complete.

The bids were opened on Jan. 27.

At a village council meeting on Feb. 9, the commissioners and mayor voted unanimously to award the contract to KLF. Questions were asked about the contractor, specifically related to any subcontracting done and what protections the village has if the work, specifically the environmental abatement, predicted to be the most time-intensive part of the project, isn’t handled correctly.

In a letter to the village regarding the bids, CBBEL said they had “completed full evaluations and performed reference checks on the three lowest responsive bidders” and “all three low bidders appear qualified to perform this work.”

At the village council meeting on Feb. 9, Jim Amelio, on behalf of CBBEL, said the engineering firm will have someone overseeing and managing the entire project. If a subcontractor isn’t doing the work or demolition properly, it will be brought to the general contractor’s attention and remedied, Amelio assured the council.

A planning meeting, which will include a schedule of when the work will be done, is set for Feb. 11. According to Steve Glinke, director of public health and safety for the village, that meeting will include the village and KLF, but it will also include representatives from the Altenheim senior living home and residents from The Grove.

“We want the stakeholders at the table when we present our expectations to the contractor,” Glinke said. “There’s going to be a lot of eyes on this project.”

The intergovernmental agreement for the grant was approved at the Jan. 25 village council meeting, but not without reservations from Save the Forest Park Green Space, a group of Forest Park residents who submitted a letter read during public comment. The group also submitted 27 pages of hand-signed signatures and 173 online signatures, for a total of 535 signatures, on a petition regarding the future use of the Altenheim land. The petition reads, “As a resident or business owner in Forest Park, I support dedicating the property south of the Altenheim Senior Living Community as a contiguous green space. … We believe the community deserves a say in the future of the property,” read the letter, in part.