Salt shed bids too high as build­ing study be­gins

The Community Connection - - FRONT PAGE - By Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

Although town­ship com­mis­sion­ers did agree Aug. 20 on hir­ing a firm to un­der­take a study of all the town­ship’s build­ings and fu­ture needs, de­ci­sions about one more press­ing need re­main un­made.

The com­mis­sion­ers voted to ap­point Al­loy 5, a Beth­le­hem engi­neer­ing firm, to look at all the town­ship’s fa­cil­i­ties and of­fer a re­port on how much longer they’ve got, what it would take to re­pair them and what it would take to re­place them.

The study will cost tax­pay­ers about $8,000.

The firm, which gave a pre­sen­ta­tion last month, was com­pet­ing with a Hatfield ar­chi­tec­ture firm known as KCBA, which de­signed the three-year Pottsgrove High School ex­pan­sion and up­grade.

The build­ing study came about in the wake of the com­mis­sion­ers’ re­jec­tion — 10 months and one elec­tion ago — of the $2 mil­lion bid for a new pub­lic works garage on Heather Place.

The re­jec­tion came as the re­sult of an out­cry by res­i­dents that the cost was too high.

Res­i­dent Char­lie Al­bright told the com­mis­sion­ers the study should have been done be­fore $100,000 was spent on de­sign for new high­way garage which is no longer go­ing to be built.

But while the bid for the garage may have been re­jected, one press­ing need

at that site re­quires im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion — the town­ship’s crum­bling wooden salt shed.

The plan had been to erect a new one which ul­ti­mately could have been moved if nec­es­sary should the build­ing study sug­gest some­thing for that site.

But the com­mis­sion­ers learned that only one bid was re­ceived and, at more than $76,000, was about $21,000 more than they were ex­pect­ing.

Town­ship Man­ager Carol Lewis said the bid­ders told her the price on the steel and con­crete struc­ture went up be­cause of Pres­i­dent Trump’s tar­iff’s on Cana­dian steel.

Board Vice Chair­man France Kraza­lkovich said he did not want to vote on

a project that re­ceived only one bid.

As an al­ter­na­tive, Lewis said the board might want to con­sider a more tra­di­tional wooden pole barn struc­ture, the down­side to that be­ing that once built, it would be more dif­fi­cult to move.

Since the bid on the orig­i­nal struc­ture is good for 60 days, the board de­cided to in­ves­ti­gate the al­ter­na­tive struc­ture and make a de­ci­sion when they could com­pare the two prices.

But time is run­ning out, noted Com­mis­sion­ers’ Chair­man Trace Slink­erd, who said con­struc­tion needed to be com­pleted soon so it could be used for the com­ing win­ter.

EVAN BRANDT — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Up­per Pottsgrove Com­mis­sion­ers re­main un­re­solved about how to re­place the town­ship’s crum­bling salt shed.

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