By Courtney L. Saylor
Herald Staff Writer
After bids came in above the amount of grant money the city has to spend, officials are scrambling to find more funding for the Sharon streetscape project.
Sharon City Manager Scott Andrejchak said PennDOT on Nov. 8 opened bids for the five-years-in-the-making upgrades to downtown infrastructure and they’re about $300,000 more than the available budget.
Andrejchak said they’re exploring a “variety of sources” of potential extra money for the project.
When asked what would happen if city officials can’t find the cash to make up the difference, Andrejchak was optimistic.
“We’ll find it,” he said.
The apparent low-bidder is S.E.T., Inc., Lowellville, Ohio, at $1,105,210, Andrejchak said.
In 2007 the city scored an $800,000 townscape grant for new curbing, sidewalks, lighting and other features.
Five companies bid on the work and the highest bid was $1.3 million.
Andrejchak said the project is moving forward and PennDOT will likely award the bid in the coming weeks.
It’s still on track to begin construction in the spring, Andrejchak said.
The scope includes a number of elements related to handicap accessibility and, in fact, part of the delay in the project was due to changes in the Americans with Disabilities Act regulations. Difficulty getting easements signed with property-owners along the improvement route and changes in PennDOT requirements also stalled things, officials have said.
Former acting city manager and current Code Director Bob Fiscus got the ball rolling again on the streetscape and Andrejchak has made it a priority since he was hired in August 2011.
In 2010, the work was estimated to cost about $830,000 and in July 2011 the project engineer said costs had gone up to about $960,000 and the passing of another 15 months has only added to the price.