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Trafford Councilman Daykon defends his comments critcizing architect

| Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

After being criticized by PTARC board members, Trafford Councilman John Daykon said he was looking out for the best interests of taxpayers last month when he disputed a landscape architect's $190,000 estimate for improvements to Westmoreland Park.

In the aftermath, council last week agreed to use a different consultant, Morris Knowles and Associates, to map out the improvements so the borough may apply to the Commonwealth Financing Authority for a grant for the potential project.

At the June 18 meeting, Daykon said he doesn't apologize for his May 22 comments that were critical of landscape architect Rich Rauso's preliminary estimate for work at the park.

Daykon questioned Rauso's cost estimates for the project. He also said that Rauso conferred with another architect, Jeff Schroder, against Daykon's instruction not to use him.

“I think every single one of us that sit up here has a duty to the taxpayers to look at the best interests of the community, and I believe that's what we did,” Daykon said.

“We were presented with a $190,000 proposal that was beyond belief. I do not apologize for grilling the gentleman for it.”

He added, “If we want to throw money away, I'll step down tonight, but I did what I felt was in the best interest of the community and the residents.”

Daykon also said he thought it was wrong for Penn-Trafford Area Recreation Commission board members to criticize Daykon's May 22 comments because those board members were reacting based on how his comments were covered in news stories.

Council initially began working with Rauso through his relationship with PTARC.

In choosing Morris Knowles, council is teaming with a firm that performed structural engineering services for the borough's public safety building.

Council authorized the hiring pending the finalization of a fee schedule from the firm for the consultation.

Councilwoman Vicki Megon said the firm is in the process of settling how much work is necessary at the park.

Among the work outlined last month was updates to the two pavilions, restrooms and parking areas, as well as the installation of a bocce court and concrete walking paths to meet requirements under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

The deadline for the grant application is July 31.

“They're checking on some things that were initially stated that we needed that we're not sure that we do (need),” Megon said of Morris Knowles.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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