ATI vows to complete Riverquarium project soon - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

ATI vows to complete Riverquarium project soon

July 8, 2004

Albany-- The $25 million project came to a sudden halt Wednesday when construction workers were sent home, because there's no money to pay them.

Albany Leaders are calling the construction shut down a minor set back.

It's a very quiet lunchtime and Dinner Bell Catering is ringing, but there are no diners at the project site. [King: They all left ] [King: "It's hurting pretty bad, I'm not making much money out here today," said Kristine King of Dinner Bell Catering.

King usually feeds 30 or more Flint Riverquarium Construction Workers. "I've seen six today, six." That's because Albany Tomorrow has not gotten the $1.4 million needed from the state to finish the project.

"On May 17th, the Governor decided to defer this project, along with several other projects until they can get a better understanding of why there was a need of additional funding," said Albany Tomorrow CEO Tommy Chatmon.

Construction can't be finished without the additional money. Holder Construction Company sent a letter to Albany Tomorrow on July 6th. It states, "...all work will be stopped by the end of the business day on Friday July 9, 2004. This action is necessary because Albany Tomorrow has been unable to provide evidence of financing for the balance of the project."

But workers stopped working two days earlier than scheduled. Chatmon said, "Holder has talked to their sub contractors yesterday to cease and desist until further notice is given."

Because, like Albany Tomorrow, the construction workers wanted something concrete. "I'd like to assure to everyone that number one, all bills that have been submitted to us have been paid," said Chatmon.

While the project money sits at the governor's desk. King will sit here, waiting for more construction customers. "I want them to hurry up. They say two weeks from now it will be straightened out. And I hope it's sooner than that," she says.

Holder Construction Company has also warned Albany Tomorrow that the temporary construction halt will result in an increase cost to the project, but will do their best to minimize the cost increase.

Governor Perdue has concerns of why Albany Tomorrow needs the extra money. Next week, the Governor will be meeting here in Albany with project leaders.

Meanwhile, Holder will wait until word from Albany Tomorrow. The Riverquarium project, owned by the state, has been through three Governors in ten years. Albany Tomorrow leaders say they still plan to open the Riverquarium on September 3rd.

posted at 5:40PM by dave.miller@walb.com