The Garden City Telegram
7/30/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Bid timing

Windsor work too vital to miss potential bids.

Opinions vary when it comes to the grand building that once housed the Windsor Hotel.

On one end are those convinced that the building can be revitalized and again be a cornerstone of activity for downtown Garden City. At the opposite end are those who would rather see the four-story building razed to make room for parking.

Of course, the latter sentiment would be the easy way out. Thankfully, many supporters of the historic landmark remain determined to see it experience a new life — to include the possibility of new housing needed in the community.

The long road to finding a contractor willing and able to restore the building has included a significant amount of work to maintain the building's integrity and viability.

Next up for the Windsor would be improvements in a new skylight and roof; a metal facade across the front; removing downstairs floor joists and the wood floor, and replacing the floor with concrete; replacing columns in two middle sections; and replacing the presidential suite floor.

Funds for the work would come from a nearly $872,000 transportation enhancement grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The latest development came in an extension of bids for the work. While bids were to be opened last week, the Finney County Preservation Alliance, which owns the property, extended the deadline to Aug. 14.

While that may sound unusual and even possibly unfair to those who may have submitted bids, it became clear that communication was an issue between the preservation alliance and prospective bidders. As a result, some contractors who were interested couldn't meet the timeline. An extension to encourage more bids only made sense.

The venture isn't just another project, after all. It demands as much input and participation as possible in what would be a unique community endeavor.

With that in mind, supporters of a revitalization of the Windsor had cause to support extension of the deadline. Hopefully, the move pays off with a more competitive and fruitful bid process — one that results in the kind of cost-efficient and effective improvements needed to help save the downtown gem.