The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

March 22, 2013

Garage renovation price tag gives city council pause

By Tom Davidson
Herald Staff Writer

SHARON — It would cost nearly $4 million to fully renovate the downtown Sharon parking garage.

That’s cash the city doesn’t have and it’s the reason resolutions to award bids to fix the garage were tabled at Thursday city council meeting.

The decaying 350-space garage has been a drain on the city’s coffers since it opened in 1976.

But city officials are looking to spend a $531,000 grant initially pegged for a pedestrian bridge over the Shenango River on the garage, which has been trashed by vandals in recent years.

The city recently painted over graffiti that had marred the walls of the garage, and the grant money should cover the cost of the most-needed work, City Manager Scott Andrejchak said.

“We’re really trying to focus in on a security system, lighting two levels of the structure and some resurfacing,” Andrejchak said.

The city sought bids for the work, but those bids were more extensive than what the city could actually afford, Andrejchak said.

“The bids were substantially higher” than expected, Andrejchak said.

“We’re still really working with the design team to see,” what the city can afford. “I think we just need a little more information.”

Council tabled bids of $1.8 million for general construction and $1.9 million for electrical construction Tuesday and will hold a special meeting once the project is whittled down to what the city can afford, council President Victor Heutsche said.

Sharon architecture firm HHSDR designed the project and initially asked the city to award the bids and lower the cost through change orders, Heutsche said.

“We’re not really comfortable with that,” he said.