By Gina Mace


CUYAHOGA FALLS: A contract awarded Monday by Falls City Council to remove two dams on the Cuyahoga River will be rescinded.


Five companies had submitted bids for the river restoration project that includes removing the “Powerhouse Dam” behind Samira’s restaurant and the “Mill Dam” behind Sheraton Suites.


The project was bid as a so-called design-build project. Most projects are designed first then bid separately for the construction portion.


Norton-based RiverReach Construction’s bid of $999,999 was recommended by Falls Service Director Valerie Wax Carr and approved by council.


Two weeks before the council vote, Beaver Excavating Co. of Canton, which bid nearly $490,000 on the project, sent a letter to Falls Engineer Tony Demasi protesting the bidding process. In the letter, Beaver’s contract administrator, Matt Sterling, alleged the city was not following Ohio law.


Falls Law Director Paul Janis denied the allegation in a March 19 response.


When the city did not act on the protest, Cleveland attorney Andy Natalie asked in Summit County Common Pleas Court for a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction against awarding the contract to RiverReach Construction. Natalie wanted a judge to order that the bidding be done over.


The case was settled before a scheduled hearing in Judge Paul Gallagher’s Court on Friday.


Janis said the city will rebid the project.


“The city agreed to do this, not because of any laws or regulations not being followed, but after reviewing our [request for proposal] and the totality of the process, it became clear that some of the proposers were confused about the nature of the job and what it is they were being asked to propose,” Janis said in an email.


“We take responsibility for the process being less than satisfactory, and although we believe the process was legally sufficient, we believe it is more important to have a fair process than to simply rely on our legal rights.”


Natalie said the city failed to follow relatively new guidelines for design-build projects when it bid the project the first time. At issue were some technical points in the state law in the bidding process.


“It’s unfortunate that we were not permitted an opportunity to meaningfully explain to the city the problems with their procurement process and we were forced to take the actions we did to stop an illegal contract award,” Natalie said. “I’m pleased with the outcome because it is the very relief we were seeking – to void the proposals and rebid the project.”