Whitehall-Coplay Press

Friday, May 24, 2019

Council working to extend grants

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Borough officials still hope to have Saylor Park ready for anniversary

Councilman Stephen Burker reported to Coplay Borough Council at the Oct. 9 meeting that he has been in detailed discussions on grants for the Saylor Park project. He is confident he has the right combination in place to extend the grants.

As background, Coplay proposed upgrading Saylor Park to a state-of-the-art recreational park. The expected cost was around $600,000. Grants and in-kind services were expected to bring the borough’s contribution to $200,000.

But bids came in closer to $1 million. All of the bids were rejected, and the borough engineer was instructed to rebid the project. The problem with rebidding the project is that grants have expiration dates, and the rebid will most likely be returned after the grant expiration date. The project is not feasible without the grant funds.

Burker met with Kurt Derr, legislative assistant for state Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-18th. Burker and Derr are confident they can get the grants extended.

Councilwoman Janet Eisenhauer met with a Trexler Trust representative to extend its grant. The representative gave Eisenhauer the documentation necessary to extend the grant but cautioned the funds must be spent by March 2019.

Councilman Charles Sodl pointed out that if the initial bids came in at close to $1 million, it is not realistic to assume that the rebid would be half the original bid. Borough Engineer Daniel Witczak indicated he made changes to the design.

Burker is working with local trade unions to see if they are willing to provide in-kind services to keep the costs down. The unions are enthusiastic backers of the park and the borough, he said, but there are no specific numbers on their contribution.

Sodl pointed out that a realistic option may be to scale down the park to meet the budget. Scaling down the park might cause grants to be reduced. Burker and Sodl will address the situation with Derr and others.

Council is pushing Witczak to get the bids out so that all the deadlines can be met. The goal is to open the park for the borough’s 150th anniversary next year.

Witczak addressed long-simmering problems with Front Street. The macadam is noticeably wavy. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has standards on surfacing. Witczak proposed having a third party come out and measure the surface with a special machine at an estimated cost of $2,750. If the borough took legal action, the test could be beneficial.

Council President Louis Bodish was reluctant to spend the money. He has an alternate plan that he did not want to disclose publicly.

Road work at Second and Chestnut streets is completed. This allows traffic along Second Street to normalize.

Coplay prepared changes to its fireworks ordinance to comply with state laws. The solicitor recommended the ordinance be expanded to include local sales of fireworks. The ordinance was tabled until changes can be made. Sodl asked that the ordinance be presented at the next meeting so a hearing can be held.

His goal is to have the ordinance on the books by the end of the year.