Transport hub work picks up steam

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 27, 2009

Buried between the walls at the old power plant building wherethe new Multi-Modal Facility will go is a piece of Brookhavenhistory.

Project Superintendent Jamie Harvey, of Paul Jackson and Son,said the marble plaques marking the date of the “Brookhaven PowerHouse, Erected 1897,” and “Power Plant Improvement, Completed1925,” were on a wall of the main power plant building when one ofthe side buildings was demolished in preparation forconstruction.

“It’s a good thing it’s been under that building or it wouldn’thave been as preserved,” Harvey said.

So the building, which has lain dormant for many years, is nowbeing made over again, this time to become the culmination of aproject the city has worked toward for almost a decade.

Harvey said construction started July 15, and the one add-onbuilding that covered the plaques has been demolished.

There is still one building piece to be torn down. But thefamous 185-foot smokestack, which was built with the improvement in1925, will stay.

“It’s also a cell phone tower,” said Harvey, illustrating thepracticality of keeping the smokestack beyond the fact that it issomething of a Brookhaven landmark.

The reworking of the multi-modal building will change thingsbeyond just the aesthetics of the neighborhood.

Harvey said Railroad Avenue will end at the facility once it isbuilt. The land to the south of the building will be used as aparking lot.

“There will be a walkway across the road to get to where youboard the trains,” Harvey said, adding that a 100-foot canopy willbe erected to protect boarders from the elements.

Canopies will also be built to the front and the back of thebuilding.

But the next step? Harvey said currently his crews are workingon restoring the century-old brick, which will also includeupdating the joints and mortar and bringing the building up tospeed to be the modern transportation hub architect MichaelBarranco has designed.

The project was initially planned to be a multi-million dollarfacility. But through the years, the plan has been downsized to fitthe budget.

While the city will have to pay more than originally plannedbecause of the cost of inflation since the last cost estimate wasdone in 2005, aldermen agreed that the price of closing the roadand the crossing seems small after the battle to get the facilityin place.

The estimate in 2005 was around $900,000. Paul Jackson and Son’sbid on the project was $932,000, with several alternatives thatdeal with issues such as demolition and fencing that will amount toanother $36,400.

At this early point in the project, Harvey said it appears onschedule to be finished next year.

“Our deadline for end of completion is April,” Harvey said.”That’s got the rain days figured in. So far it’s going good.”