The half-finished Wewahitchka fire station will soon have a new contractor to complete the project. [ David Adlerstein | The Star ]
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Wewahitchka settles firehouse litigation

The Wewahitchka city commission is going out for bid for a new contractor to complete its fire station, after settling its suit with the former contractor and its surety company.

City Attorney Michelle Jordan said the case against Winterfell Construction Inc. and the holder of its surety bond FAIRCO (Fair American Insurance and Reinsurance Company) was settled earlier this year, with the city receiving $850,000 from FAIRCO.

The surety will now collect that from Winterfell according to the terms of a bankruptcy plan worked out in the courts ever since the contractor filed for Chapter 11 in January 2023.

Jordan said she expects bids for a replacement contractor to be reviewed at the Wewa’s April meeting. She said the city also received an extension from FEMA through 2025 to complete construction and expenditure of the remaining approximately $600,000 of FEMA funds. 

City Clerk Rachel Jackson said that following the damage wrought in 2018 by Hurricane Michael, FEMA awarded Wewa about $1.53 million to build the fire house.

A lengthy court fight ensued after the city terminated Winterfell as the project’s contractor in January 2022. Three months later Winterfell sued the city for breach of contract, prompting a countersuit from Wewa. 

A complex legal battle, in both state and federal courts, then commenced between FAIRCO, Winterfell and the city, but following mediation and other decisions, the half-finished project is now back on track.

Jordan said she expects construction to be back underway by early summer.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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