NEW ALBANY — What was initially labeled as a positive project to preserve the city’s history again became the subject of a debate Tuesday.
The ongoing project to rehabilitate Second Baptist Church was again brought before the New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety.
Last month, Building Commissioner David Brewer issued a cease-work order for construction on the historic structure after he declared organizers of the project failed to receive permission before removing clock faces from the Main Street church.
Known as the Town Clock Church, the building served as a link in the Underground Railroad during the Civil War era.
According to Brewer, the main reason he hadn’t approved the work was because the contractor for the project, DM Masonry, wasn’t properly licensed for what he dubbed as commercial work.
Irv Stumler — a former mayoral candidate and a leader in the group Friends of the Town Clock Church — has said he doesn’t agree with Brewer’s assessment that DM Masonry is required to obtain such a license.
DM Masonry President Frank Delbridge said he’s scheduled to take the test for the license on Friday, though he may not need the certification as Padgett Inc. has agreed to serve as the primary contractor on the project.
Padgett — which is licensed for commercial work — would allow DM Masonry to work as a subcontractor, and would cover the construction with its insurance.
However Stumler again expressed his disappointment with the delays in the project, saying he has been in constant contact with Brewer, yet the order to commence work still hasn’t been issued.
Board of works President Warren Nash said the license and order to start construction have to come from the administrative wing, but he added he understood there were some safety concerns that were delaying the project.