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Walker hustling to build shelter

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By Phyllis McLaughlin

Tony Walker is a man under pressure.

The Bedford resident, who owns TW Concrete, was hired by Trimble County Fiscal Court in January to build a new animal shelter, which will be shared by Trimble and Henry counties. His deadline of July 1 is coming up fast.

Walker said concrete and masonry contracts were approved during a special Fiscal Court meeting Friday, March 2. At the end of the meeting, the plan was to begin “moving dirt” to prepare the site, located across the road from Valley View Landfill, on Monday, March 5.

Then came the tornadoes, which tore across the county later that Friday afternoon.

The chaos from the damage caused by those storms was followed immediately by the first substantial snowfall for the year.

“The weather has killed me, absolutely killed me,” Walker admitted in a phone interview Monday, March 19.

But he is determined to get the project done on time. “We’re taking advantage of the sunny days,” he said. “The contractors have been great, coming in [to work] at a moment’s notice.”

Walker said the concrete footers were to be poured Tuesday. Once that is finished, he said the plumbing will be installed and the cement floor poured. Then the block-layer will get to work building the walls, he said, predicting that the masonry work should be completed in less than two weeks.

James Masonry LLC of Shelbyville won the project, submitting the low bid of $18,000, Walker said. Three other bids were opened, with the highest coming in at $54,000.

Walker said he has taken some heat from other contractors, because he is managing the project for $15,000 – an amount that, basically, covers his expenses.

But Walker said he really doesn’t mind if he isn’t making much of a profit, even if he risks raising the ire of other contractors.

“People don’t understand. No one wants taxes raised, but they want the best of everything. [Conversely, contractors] want top dollar for something the taxpayers are paying for.”

Twice, Fiscal Court rejected bids for the project from contractors who wanted anywhere from $350,000 to $500,000 to build the 2,100-square-foot facility.

The payback, he said, is helping the county bring the project in at under $250,000 – a goal set by County Judge-Executive Randy Stevens and the magistrates.

“I’m giving something back to the community.”