NOW YOU SEE IT—Now you don’t. Charles Reader began to take bites of the burned out Polaris Hotel on Nov. 30. The City solicited accelerated bids on Nov. 28 for emergency abatement to begin ASAP with a deadline of Dec. 11. Reader worked through blizzards and high wind over the weekend. By Tuesday, the remains of the package store, hotel and bar complex had gone to the City’s monofill.

Q Trucking performs Polaris Hotel abatement

On Nov. 30 Charles Reader began the gargantuan task of removing the hazardous remains of the Polaris Hotel fire from the corner of Bering Street and Lomen Avenue. Using an excavator to load several trucks, Reader worked steadily through a blizzard, howling winds and snowfall over the weekend.
By Monday, the structure had almost disappeared.
Fire destroyed the combination hotel, bar and package liquor store on Oct. 31.
The Nome Common Council declared the site eligible for emergency abatement, clearing the way for requests for proposals from companies interested in demolition and removal. The Council expedited the removal of the ruins at the urging of Nome Police Chief John Papasodora, who said the site was attracting people sifting the ashes for any bottle of booze that may have survived the six-hour plus conflagration.
In summary, Papasodora told the Council that immediate cleanup following the fire would not have been soon enough to eliminate the serious hazard.
“There is alcohol on the premises. It is an extreme hazard,” Papasodora said at the Council meeting Nov. 27. “Some kid’s going to get in and they are going to get hurt.”
The site was an imminent safety hazard, Council members said, and ordered the City’s administration to undertake immediate abatement and remediation.
The City hung up on a sticky wicket when Tom Moran, city manager, provided the Polaris owners’ insurance company an estimate for the cost of abatement that Reader considered low ball, thus putting a false ceiling on a bid solicitation. Moran explained that he was trying to sort out the demolition procedure as the owners had left town and the hazard needed to go. An abatement per City law would require notifications and public hearings. The Council shortened the process by voting the Polaris removal into emergency status to promptly remove the hazard.
 Q Trucking got the job for the following money: actual demolition—$6,030; debris hauling and disposal to the City Monofill (biddable by hourly or per load—$185 per hour; site filling and grading—$1,000.
The City allowed the debris to go into the monofill for a flat $1,000.
The owners’ insurance would pay at least $10,000 for removal; the remaining cost would be attached as a lien on the property, according to Moran.


The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112

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