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Water damage further snags redevelopment

(ran PC edition)

An engineer and contractor haven't reimbursed Zephyrhills for a sidewalk design flaw that caused flooding at two businesses during heavy rains.

City officials can't seem to shake the headaches associated with the first phase of the city's redevelopment efforts.

As they begin their quest to secure funding for a second streetscaping project, city officials are seeking reimbursement for a design flaw that caused flooding at two downtown businesses during heavy rains in late March.

The city has sent letters to a Jacksonville engineering firm and a Zephyrhills contractor, asking them to pay about $3,100 for water damage to Spanger Design Services and the office of businessman George Neukom, City Attorney Tom McAlvanah said.

But the Genesis Group and Carr Construction have shown no interest in paying for the damage, McAlvanah said.

McAlvanah said he has told the two companies to work together to decide how much each will pay the city. If they don't reimburse the city, he said, they will be prohibited from bidding on future city projects.

Officials with the Genesis Group and Carr Construction did not return calls seeking comment.

"Overall, they did a nice job," McAlvanah said. "This is not the end of the world."

City Manager Steve Spina said a portion of the sidewalk along the south side of Fifth Avenue pushed water into the buildings instead of toward the street. Before the March downpour, Spina said, contractor Dave Carr assured city officials the flaw wouldn't present a problem.

Debbie Spanger said the floor at the entrance to her interior design shop buckled as a result of the water damage. She is still waiting to be reimbursed for the repairs.

"I had to close the store for a day and it was a little bit of an inconvenience," Spanger said. "But it was nothing major."