N.Y. firm's bid chosen for hospital demolition

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Salvageable material possibilities kept price low

CUMBERLAND — The mayor and City Council announced Tuesday that Ritter & Paratore Contracting Inc. of Utica, N.Y., with a low bid of $1.5 million, has been selected to demolish the old Memorial Hospital and medical buildings.

“They have been checked out by our engineering consultants and they’re a good and capable company,” said John DiFonzo, director of engineering for the city.

DiFonzo appeared at the regular bi-weekly public meeting of the City Council to give details on the selection and the project in general.

“We got good references on them (Ritter & Paratore),” said DiFonzo.

Ritter and Paratore submitted the lowest bid, while the highest bid of $4 million, was from Carl Belt Inc. the only local firm to submit a bid.

“They (Ritter & Paratore) did a significant amount of work to determine what they could salvage out of the building and what value it could bring them,” said DiFonzo.

DiFonzo said that making use of salvageable materials like copper and other items was the main reason low bidders were able to keep their bids low.

Nick Scarpelli, city council member, asked DiFonzo if there could be any issues with insurance.

“We expect no problems with them getting bonded or having any insurance issues,” said DiFonzo.

 DiFonzo said that the 17 bids that were received for the demolition contract, were the most he could remember being submitted for a city project.

“I?have been working here since 1975. I don’t ever recall receiving 17 bids,” said DiFonzo.

The exact figure Ritter & Paratore gave for the the demolition was $1,467,000 plus $7,900 for saving the entrance way and facade.

The decorative marble facade with pillars and ornate etching, is expected to go to the Allegany Museum for a future display.

“People will be able to see the original city hospital,” said DiFonzo.

David Kauffman, city council member, raised a concern over possible shortcuts on the environmental aspects.

“The environmental is an area that contractors have been known to skimp,” said Kauffman.

DiFonzo said that part of the permitting process is bringing in the EPA and the Maryland Department of the Environment, who help oversee that any environmental issues are handled properly.

The demolition project, which does not include the two parking garages across the street from the hospital, is expected to take about a year.

“At first there will be a lot of inside work,” said DiFonzo.

Salvaging materials, asbestos abatement and other environmental concerns will be done first, according to DiFonzo.

Over the next month, meetings will be held to iron out the details. DiFonzo said a public meeting will be scheduled, with neighbors invited, that will have representatives from Ritter & Paratore present.

“I think bringing in neighbors and the stakeholders is a very good idea and will make a huge difference,” said Scarpelli.

Greg Larry can be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.