Published Date Written by Dan Miller
A contract to build trellises and pavilions on both sides of North Union and East Emaus streets as part of the downtown Middletown streetscape project was awarded on Tuesday, Oct. 27 by the Middletown Industrial and Commercial Development Authority.
The authority’s original plan was to build a large pavilion in the space on the northeast corner of North Union and East Emaus streets, where a building housing small businesses once stood. The authority razed the building earlier this year.
However, the authority chose to modify its original plan to bring down the cost of the trellises and pavilions.
Instead, the contract awarded on Oct. 27 calls for building a trellis and a small pavilion on the northeast corner, and a small pavilion coupled with “a modified trellis structure” on the northwest corner of the intersection next to the Brownstone Cafe.
At $294,755, the scaled-down version still exceeds the $263,000 that the authority had estimated for the trellises and pavilions at the intersection. Previously, the authority had received two sets of bids for the trellises and pavilions, but the bids were still coming in at $513,000.
The trellises and pavilions delayed the overall streetscape project as well as added to the cost. The authority had hoped to start construction of the streetscape improvements in June and finish by the end of this year. Instead, work did not begin until October, and now is expected to take until July to complete.
The contract for the trellises and pavilions was awarded to Lobar Associates of Dillsburg through the Keystone Purchasing Network. The network allows the borough and other participating municipalities to choose from a list of contractors that have already submitted bids on a variety of construction projects.
Awarding the trellis and pavilion contract has increased the cost of the overall streetscape from $3.4 million to $3.7 million, including engineering costs. That’s already $1 million over the original $2.7 million estimate for the downtown renovations.
When all is said and done, the cost of the streetscape improvements will be higher still. The authority, during its Oct. 27 meeting, voted to extend to North Union and Spring streets sidewalk and crosswalk improvements that are associated with the streetscape project. Doing so adds close to another $150,000 to the streetscape budget, including $28,100 for revised designs by the borough’s consulting engineers, HRG.
The streetscape project could get still more expensive, depending on what the authority decides to do with the space on South Union Street next to Roberto’s Pizza that was once occupied by the Klahr Building.
The borough acquired the Klahr Building in 2013 and then razed it with plans for constructing a pedestrian alley to connect South Union with the municipal parking lot. However, that plan was not incorporated in the original $2.7 million streetscape budget.
On Oct. 27, the authority voted to accept the transfer of the vacant Klahr Building space from the borough. The authority then requested a cost estimate to extend the streetscape project into the Klahr Building space be obtained from Flyway Excavating of Lititz, general contractor for the streetscape project.
“You’re not going to get that pricing again,” said authority member Jim Nardo, suggesting that the least expensive way to add the Klahr Building into the streetscape would be to amend the existing contract with Flyway. The authority asked that the cost estimate be ready for a vote at its next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 24.