Last week, the Niagara Falls Reporter published an article about the failed parking lot at Joseph Davis State Park, a lot that was paved less than two years ago.
The lot was paved by Ken Young Paving of Youngstown.
The Reporter made an on-site inspection of the failed lot, and various samples were taken that indicated that at least where the lot failed the asphalt laid was less than the contracted two inches of depth.
Councilmember Mike Mara and Town Highway Supt. Doug Janese met the Reporter on site and following the preliminary inspection, Mara said he would ask the town board to instruct town engineer Bob Lannon to arrange for core samples to determine whether the apparent thinness of asphalt was in isolated spots or widespread.
This week, Ken Young contacted the Reporter to give his side of the story after failing to respond to our calls before the story was published. Young said the reason the parking lot failed was because in June the town board permitted a paving company doing county roadwork on Lower River Rd. to store heavy trucks on the Joe Davis lot that Young had paved.
“The parking lot was fine up until a month ago, until the town board gave permission to let Suit-Kote (Corp.) put their equipment in there,” Young said.
The Suit-Kote Corp. is a privately-owned asphalt products manufacturer, road construction and maintenance contractor.
“The lot was not “spec’ed” out for a commercial lot,” Young said. “Yet they stored tanker trucks fully loaded,” Young said
Supervisor Dennis Brochey confirmed for the Reporter that Suit-Kote was the company that stored trucks in the Joe Davis lot and provided pictures showing him standing in on the damaged lot in front of the Suit-Kote tankers.
Young estimated the tankers weighed 40 tons each. The paving of the lot, he said, was meant for cars, small pickups and campers. A car weighs 2.5 tons.
“A weight of 10 times of a car or more was driven on the lot and that was why it failed, not because of my work,” Young said.
The contract with Young Paving, which was approved in August of 2012 by an LDC which operated Joe Davis Park for a time, called for 2.5 inches of asphalt binder, compacted to 2 inches over 192,000 square feet of parking.
Did Young put in the contracted amount of asphalt?
“Yes,” Young said. “What you have to realize is that parking lot (before it was paved) was like Lake Ontario. It was wavy and there are spots in the bed that (I laid down) probably 10 inches of (asphalt) binder and there are some other spots that are an inch and three quarters or two inches. You are trying to get everything to a level playing field so you can topcoat it and have a perfectly smooth surface. So some places will have less (asphalt) than two inches and some will be more.”
Young said he welcomed the town doing core samples to prove he laid down the contracted amount.
“You can core some places in there and find six, eight inches of blacktop,” Young said, “For two years, the parking lot was perfect. Then, all of sudden, you bring the heaviest equipment you can put in there, and now, all of a sudden, the parking lot doesn’t hold up and now it is the blacktoppers fault?”
Originally there were three bids for the paving job that Young was ultimately awarded.
Mark Cerrone Inc. bid $221,000. Rustin Paving bid $236,000. Young’s bid was a substantially lower at $189,000.
“(Unlike Cerrone and Rustin) I am a one person owner,” Young said. “I don’t even have a bid estimator, an engineer. I am small. My overhead is small. I do 90 percent of my own estimating. I am a single proprietor with eight employees.”
With your price so low and with the amount of asphalt put in there that you said you put in, did you make a profit?
“Yes,” Young said. “I didn’t make what I should have made. But I always say, ‘You don’t need to make a killing, you just need to make a living.'”
Meantime there is little doubt the Joe Davis Parking lot has failed.
“It is spider cracked everywhere Suit-Kote ran their equipment,” Young said.
Last week following the publication of our story, Suit-Kote, according to Supervisor Dennis Brochey, came to the lot and filled the holes they tore up with a fresh layer of polymar.
“They came in and filled the holes,” Brochey said. “I also went with Ken Young to Joe Davis and looked at some places and in some of the places where we looked there was more than two inches of asphalt, like the contract required.”
“This was supposed to be a two tier process,” Young said. “It was supposed to be topped the following year. The base underneath was an old railroad bed. We power swept it, applied a tac coat and it was a level course of binder so that it could be topped the following year. It did not get the black top. So when Suit-Kote drove their heavy equipment on it, they mush-roomed the base coat up in the air.
“As soon as they saw they were devastating the parking lot, they should have moved their trucks off. That parking lot is shot. But not by me.”
Councilman Marra is expected to get board approval to have the town engineer do core samples which will prove whether Young put down the required asphalt.
The fact remains a lot that the town paid $189,000 to pave has failed in two years.
Who’s to blame?