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Brentwood hires firm for new borough building design

| Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, 12:15 p.m.
Brentwood Borough municipal building photographed Wednesday, July 19, 2017.
Brentwood Borough municipal building photographed Wednesday, July 19, 2017.

Brentwood Borough Council took another step forward toward constructing a new borough building when it agreed to hire HHSDR to complete the final design of the proposed structure that will be built on the site of the former Snee Dairy property on Brownsville Road.

The contract with the Pittsburgh architectural firm is worth $332,000 and approval was not unanimous with council members Pat Carnevale, Stephanie Fox and Harold Smith voting against the matter at a Sept. 25 meeting. The funds for the contract will come from the borough's capital improvement fund.

“We need a new building,” Smith said. “This is a lot of money. What are we getting for $332,000?”

Carnevale agreed.

“Any number that big is a bad number,” Carnevale said. “…You're talking about money, my friend, and it's not yours.”

The borough is in the process of buying the Snee building for $70,000 from the Green Development Trust — a price that came into being once the demolition and remediation costs were deducted, Mayor Dennis Troy said.

Total acquisition cost is $141,000.

The building, located at 3735 Brownsville Road, was condemned by the borough in 2014, borough officials have said. The owner had been marketing the site for commercial development and received little interest.

The building, which is more than 100 years old, was the original Baldwin Township municipal building. The township gave the building to Brentwood when it was formed in 1915.

Borough officials have estimated the cost to construct a new municipal building at more than $5 million. They also have said it would cost more to renovate the existing building, which the borough plans to sell.

In response to concerns raised by an audience member about whether a new municipal building would lead to higher taxes, council President John Frombach said the municipality would be taking out a bond issue.

“This is only an authorization to enter into a contract,” Frombach said. “Approving this contract does not commit to a building.

“This building is an energy hog,” he said.

Even though a new municipal building still is not a definite, Troy said he is pleased with the progress that has been made. He also said Brentwood Presbyterian Church is open to having municipal staff park in its lot during the day time.

“I am very pleased that after many years, we're finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel,” Troy said. “While we don't like spending millions, it is necessary to do so.”

Suzanne Elliott is a Tribune-Review staff writer. She can be reached at selliott@tribweb.com or 412-871-2346.

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