Under Construction

construction site

And now, back to your regularly scheduled program:  rain. Oh, and wind.  And just-barely-out-of-winter temps.  Sigh.

We had our first construction meeting for the new shelter yesterday.  Yay!  We met in the trailer.  That in itself should be some kind of milestone.  Do I get a hard hat for attending it? I’d never been in a site trailer before. It all seems official now.

Anyway, we all sat around mismatched chairs at a folding table. There were a lot of us for this first meeting.  Ten, to be exact.  The number of attendees will ebb and flow on the project, but there’s a core there of at least a half-dozen who will always need to come.

We still have some issues to resolve, but I learned some new words.  No, not those.  Ahem.  I’ll share them with you!  Firepipe. Catch basin.  Sanitary and storm sewer conflict. Stubbed out.  Pump trucks.  Infiltration system.  Groundwater (and there’s a lot of it!).  Nine-inch anchor wedge.  Use the swale!  Easement.  Rebar.  Dog-leg the wire. Retention pond.

To be honest, a few of these terms I’d heard before.  But not all in one discussion.  Several challenges have come up on the site already – and no actual excavation has begun yet.  So, that’s where they’re starting first.

It appears that I will be attending meetings until the CDBG funding runs out. It should fall significantly before the end of the project, so October or November, I’m guessing.  I will also need to be on hand for audits, to guide and massage and keep things running smoothly.  “More coffee, sir?  No?  How about a pastry?”  Probably not quite so 1950s-era secretary, but you get the idea.  Also, retainage is part of closeout. The general contractor won’t get the final pay out until the project is 100% finished, everything accounted for. Look it up!

This project is complicated.  We have state funding and federal funding.  We have evergreen standards we must meet in order to pass state inspections.  We have to pass federal audits, well, at least one.  Every time we jump through one hoop, another magically appears.  It can make you crazy.

I am praying.  We need favor, wisdom, understanding, discernment, patience, grace, synergy…It’s a long list.  In a way, we are all under construction.  We’re not who we will be yet.  Several entities and personalities have to interact and intersect at this juncture.  We will rub along together for the project’s duration, making new connections and strengthening old ones.

But for now, I’m excited to be a part of something bigger than myself.  The completion of the new shelter and the low-rent apartments will help folks get back on their feet, reclaim a little dignity.  It will be a brand new building.  They won’t get flooded out at the new property.  It feels really good.


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