EMERALD ISLE — It’s taken 14 months, but town officials are getting ready to repair significant damage Hurricane Florence caused to the police department in September 2018.

Thursday was the last day for bids to be submitted by contractors who want to do the work, which has been necessitated by water intrusion and leaks from the torrential rains Florence brought. Rainfall amounts exceeded 20 inches and in some places approached 30 inches.

According to officials, the work will involve replacing all the flooring in the department, which is beside the town commission meeting room at 7500 Emerald Drive.

The town wants the successful bidder to remove the flooring and replace it with vinyl planks and wants all of the carpet removed and replaced. In addition, all of the vinyl baseboards need to be replaced.

According to the bid document, Police Chief Tony Reese will select the color of the new carpet. There is about 2,900 square feet of flooring and carpet and about 1,000 linear feet of baseboard.

Much of the removal work and replacement will take place at night or on weekends so as not to disturb operations in the department during the busiest times.

Money to pay for the work is expected to come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

FEMA is also expected to provide the funds for another major project in town, repairs and/or replacement of public ocean and sound access walkways throughout town and for removing and replacing the asphalt roof shingles and ceiling panels in the bathhouse at the Eastern Ocean Regional Access.

The town has requested FEMA funds to restore all of the structures to their previous sizes and to bring the bathhouse roof up to current North Carolina building code standards.

The goal is to get most, if not all, of the work completed before the beginning of tourism season in the spring.

In a report to town commissioners in October 2018, one month after Florence hit, then-Town Manager Frank Rush estimated repairs at the EORA to cost in the neighborhood of $10,000, not including repairs to the observation deck and the ramp to the beach.

He also told the board then there were 12 public ocean beach accesses and 11 public sound accesses with damage to stairs, wooden walkways and bulkheads. At that time, he estimated those repairs and/or replacements could cost as much as $165,000, and that did not include an estimated total of about $120,000 to replace the sound access walkway and pier at the larger Bluewater Bay access and to repair or replace the pier and bulkhead at the soundfront Cedar Street facility.

The town earlier this month formally posted a public notice for comments on the proposal to FEMA. Comments are due by Monday, Dec. 9 and should be emailed to FEMA-R4EHP@fema.dhs.gov with the subject line [DR-4393-NC-00857 11988 COMMENT].

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

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