Summit County has fired a construction company for failing to complete the renovation of the new visitation center at the Children Services campus in Akron.
Kraiger Construction of Zoar not only didn’t finish the work by the July deadline, but also did a poor job, county Law Director Deborah Matz told County Council on Monday night.
The company was hired in February for $229,000 to remodel a former health clinic into the visitation center.
Matz said work came to a halt and was left undone over the summer. The county also discovered later that some materials used were not agreed to in the contract and conditions were unsafe there, she said.
Children Services Executive Director John Saros fell while touring the site and was injured. He was not seriously hurt, she said.
Children Services investigates abuse cases and handles adoptions and foster care. The center is needed for caseworkers to observe visits between parents and children in county custody.
Matz noted that the playground remained unfinished over the summer.
“You can’t have kids cooped up inside,” she said.
She did not know why the work wasn’t completed, but added that some subcontractors apparently haven’t been paid.
Company owner Craig Slutz, who didn’t attend the meeting but was reached by phone afterward, disputed the county’s version of events.
“There are two sides to the story,” he said, declining to comment about specific issues. The company has hired a lawyer, he said.
“We’re just trying to work it out right now,” Slutz said.
The council on Monday hired Ver-Dick Builders Inc. of Stow for $38,000 to finish the project and repair any problems.
Councilwoman Ilene Shapiro said it’s important to make sure that the county doesn’t do business with Kraiger again.
The county has made a financial claim on the performance bond for the project, Matz said.
“The primary concern right now is getting the center done,” she said.
In other business, the council approved creating a $400,000 revolving loan fund for businesses. The program had been announced earlier.
The county is putting up $150,000 from Community Development Block Grant money, while Cascade Capital Corp. of Akron is kicking in $250,000 and will manage the program.
The loans of up to $50,000 will be available to businesses in the county, but outside Akron, Barberton and Cuyahoga Falls, which have their own block grant programs.
The county expects the program to begin early next year.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org.