Because bids came in higher than expected for the 12th Street Park project, the Connellsville Redevelopment Authority will ask a state agency to add more money to an existing grant.
After bids for the project were opened during a Monday meeting, authority board members agreed to seek an extra $165,000.
It also agreed to move ahead with the project contingent upon receiving the extra money.
In addition to money for a contractor, $40,000 will be used to cover plans developed by Widmer Engineering.
The project would feature a splash pad play area, 50-space parking lot, basketball court improvements, new DEK hockey facility fencing, bleachers and new sidewalks.
It will include a 500-square-foot restroom facility that complies with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations and a 20-foot by 50-foot pavilion.
The authority originally requested $500,000, the minimum requested allowed in a special Community Development Block Grant program administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
However, citing rising costs that grew out of the pandemic, the DCED allowed applicants to increase grant amounts, and the authority ultimately received approval for a $663,477 grant.
Money for the grant will come through a special Community Development Block Grant supported by Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act dollars.
Michael Edwards, authority executive director, said the DCED will accept formal letters requesting additional money for the grants. He said a request was being prepared Tuesday.
The authority received proposals for the work through a competitive bidding system, each containing separate bids for general contracting, plumbing and electric.
Alternative bids were included in each for the parking work.
- Nevaeh Pipe Bursting of Normalville: general contracting, $541,935; alternate 1, $53,321; plumbing, $95,654; and electric, $40,164 – total, $731,074.
- Roger Suter & Sons Inc. of Connellsville: general contracting, $593,920; alternate 1, $61,242; plumbing, $119,300; electric, $80,000 – total, $793,220.
Inclusion of the parking work will depend on the extra amount approved by the DCED.
If the state agency approves an additional amount that covers the rest of the project, the contracts will be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder with no need to rescind any motions for contract awards, Solicitor Tim Witt said.
“We need to get this project done before we lose it,” board Chairman Robert Flockvich said.
Edwards said the DCED has indicated it will not cover code enforcement costs for 2023 CDBG allocation year costs unless the city institutes a housing initiative, such as housing rehabilitation.
Up until now, a portion of the city’s CDBG allocation covers a portion of the code-enforcement officer’s salary.
Money remains from the 2021 and 2022 allocations that can be used for code enforcement, Edwards said.
The authority has received just one request for the 2023 allocation, for a Connellsville Parks & Recreation Board plan to establish an accessible playground at Pinnacle Park.
City council has yet to announce its requests for the 2023 allocation.
Council chooses projects, which must be approved by the DCED.
In other business, the authority board:
• Did not accept a $1,000 offer for a vacant lot at 403 E. Washington Ave.
The authority demolished a fire-damaged house at the lot, which comprises less than a tenth of an acre.
A neighbor wanted to use the lot for a side yard, Edwards said.
He noted that numerous zoning code variances would be needed to develop a building on the lot.
• Approved a $20,000 loan for a house on Cemetery Road under the first-time home buyers program.
Edwards said $10,000 will come from the Connellsville Redevelopment program and $10,000 from the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Fayette program.
The loan carries a zero-percent interest rate and does not have to be repaid until the owner dies or the house is sold.
Edwards said the recipient is working with a bank to arrange additional financing.
He said money remains in the Connellsville Redevelopment Authority fund to provide two more loans under first-time home buyers program.
Money for the loans was provided through a Hillman Foundation grant.
Joe Abramowitz is a Daily Courier staff writer.