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Bids for First Street intersection work come in higher than Apollo can pay

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 12:36 a.m.

Apollo needs more money for planned improvements to the First Street intersection at the Leonard C. Miller Memorial Bridge.

The lowest bids for handicapped ramps and pedestrian crossing signals would cost the borough nearly $18,000 more than it has, borough engineer Rich Craft said.

The borough will ask Armstrong County and PennDOT for more money for the project, intended to improve safety at the busy intersection, which is also a crossing of the Roaring Run Trail.

The county provided the borough with $20,000 from federal Community Development Block Grant funding. The lowest of four bids was almost $10,000 more, from Santamaria Landscape and Cement Contractors in Washington Township.

For the pedestrian crossing signals, the borough has about $12,000 from PennDOT for construction, Craft said.

The lowest of three bids, from Bronder Co. of Pittsburgh, was almost $8,000 more.

Borough officials will ask for more money even though they recognize getting it may be a long shot.

Craft said Armstrong County officials have said no additional money is available as all of the grant dollars are committed elsewhere.

PennDOT may have an incentive to provide more money for work it will have to do anyway, Craft said. But it was not known if the agency will have any more money to give.

PennDOT could tell the borough to wait for a new round of funding, Craft said.

While some changes to the work could be made to lower costs, Craft said it's unlikely it could be scaled back enough to lower costs to fit within the money the borough has on-hand.

County officials plan to award funding on July 18, Craft said.

Apollo Council scheduled a meeting for 6 p.m. July 17. If funding is given, contracts could be approved then, Craft said.

The borough originally planned for construction to start in August or September, and be finished in October.

Eminent domain back

Council is putting eminent domain back in its tool box, if needed, to acquire two parcels along the Kiski River.

Council voted 3-2 to rescind its June decision to not use the legal process to seize ownership of the parcels near the Leonard C. Miller Memorial Bridge.

Council President David Heffernan, Mark Greenawalt and Darhl Goldinger voted in favor. Council Vice President Cindee Virostek and Dennis Gabrielli voted against.

Council members Amy Poydence and Pat Zelonka were absent.

The vote to not use eminent domain was also 3-2, with the same council members voting. This time, Greenawalt changed his position.

Greenawalt said reversing the decision doesn't change anything, as council would still have to vote to pursue eminent domain.

“I don't want to eminent domain stuff, either,” he said. “All it is is a negotiating tool.”

Heffernan had argued against taking eminent domain off the table.

“It gives us leverage,” he said.

The vote did not affect a related action, which dropped the borough's attempts to renegotiate a lease with Roaring Run for a parking lot adjacent to the parcels.

Heffernan has said the borough wants the two parcels between the parking lot and the river for uses including a canoe launch, gazebo and a permanent live Christmas tree. The borough wants to install parking meters in the parking lot.

Heffernan has said the parking lot was mistakenly included in the borough's lease agreement with Roaring Run.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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