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Trafford Council agrees to buy blocks to build parking lot walls

| Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Trafford Council last week agreed to spend up to $22,100 for concrete blocks for retaining walls near the planned Manchester Room parking lots, but, officials said, the borough would save at least $45,000 by having public-works employees — instead of a contractor — build them.

Officials have said that the completion of two retaining walls the intersection of Fourth Street and Cavitt Avenue is necessary before they can begin paving the lots.

Council will spend as much as $17,000 from Stone and Co. for jumbo concrete blocks for a 7.5-foot wall in the lot to the east of Cavitt Avenue. The cost for Versa-Lok blocks from R.I. Lampus Co. in the lot behind the main entrance to the Manchester Room is capped at $5,100.

Engineer Don Glenn estimated the borough would have had to spend $56,000 for labor and materials in the eastern lot if the borough employees weren't able to do the work. Trafford is saving at least $6,000 by having borough workers install the other lot, he said.

The Manchester Room, a banquet hall in the borough building, is expected to open either later this year or in 2014.

Also related to the lots, council agreed to pay J.L. Urban Construction Services $10,542 to complete the concrete curbing and driveway approaches for the eastern lot.

But council expects to save another $10,000 to $12,000 by having the public-works crew complete the concrete work on the western lot.

“Hats off to the public works crew for doing that,” Councilman Henry Schultz said.

Playground staff

Council members are considering expanding the summer playground program to the Trafford Terrace neighborhood.

With about 60 school-age children living in the neighborhood, a lot of parents have been asking for a daily program there, Councilwoman Vicki Megon said. The program in recent years has been at Woodlawn and Fairmont parks, although attendance declined this summer.

Council would have to hire a fifth playground employee to help run the programs and act as a floater among the three sites, Megon said.

Councilman Jay Race said the discussion should resume when council begins working on the 2014 budget.

“I think it'd be a great idea to do it up there if they have the people to maintain it,” Race said.

But Councilwoman Rita Windsor questioned why council would choose the expand the program after attendance dropped this year. Participation plunged from 76 to 28 at Woodlawn Park and fell from 62 to 34 Fairmont Park.

“Why would we put the money into another employee whenever the numbers are dropping?” said Windsor, who serves on the Penn-Trafford Area Recreation Commission, which administers the program.

Megon said she thinks there is not enough advertising for the program. A poll of families in the newer Bradford Square neighborhood showed that nobody knew about it, she said.

Police station

Officials are holding off a possible auction of the former police station until determining if some developers who are considering projects downtown might be interested in buying it.

Manager Jeff McLaughlin said one auctioneer told him he would take 10 percent of the sale price and charge $750 for the advertisement of an auction. If nobody bid on the property, the borough still would be on the hook for the $750 ad and a separate $750 fee.

“It might be nice to kind of hold on to this building to see if (the developers') ideas come to fruition,” McLaughlin said.

The borough would have the right to reject any bids through an auction, Solicitor Craig Alexander said. Trafford also could set a reserve price.

“I just wouldn't want to rush,” Councilman Casey Shoub said. “We've sat on it this long. We can sit on it a couple of months longer.”

Council members said they were hoping the property at Brinton Avenue and Fifth Street would attract at least $80,000 through a sealed-bid process, but nobody submitted an offer.

Sewer project

Council agreed to spend $12,438 to repair a collapsed sewer inlet at First Street and Adrian Avenue.

Glenn said the contract for National Gunite of Johnstown is about $4,000 less than the estimate he gave for the project.

The contractor will reinforce the entire sewer structure with a high-strength concrete.

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

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