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Feasibility study to focus on Renton site in Plum

| Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

With the public works facility nearly complete, Plum officials are looking at future development of the site off Renton Road.

To that end, borough council last week voted to award a contract not to exceed $109,445 to borough engineer R.F. Mitall and Associates of Plum to study the feasibility of building a municipal complex at the borough property site between Renton Road and Old Leechburg Road.

Borough officials plan to use a $75,000 state grant to help fund the study.

Councilmen Don Knopfel and Steve “Skip” Taylor voted against the expenditure.

“I've been told there is no plan (for development) in existence,” Taylor said.

“How are we basing a feasibility study if we don't have a plan?”

Manager Michael Thomas said the purpose of the study is to determine the cost of continuing development at the site.

A municipal complex to include borough offices, police station and senior community center has been proposed at the site as the second phase of the project.

“We have a preliminary design to locate the municipal offices,” Thomas said.

“The grant ($75,000) furthers the study to see how much it would cost if we moved forward.”

Thomas said the borough building is not adequate or large enough.

“Modifications have to be done in five to 10 years,” Thomas said.

Thomas added no plan exists for the current borough building site on New Texas Road.

A marketing study indicated a 58,000-square foot grocery store would be profitable at the site.

“One grocer contacted the borough,” Thomas said.

He declined to name the grocer.

He added no further discussions have occurred.

Previously, Plum officials discussed using money from leasing the site to a grocer and the borough's existing debt service to complete the second phase of the project in Renton.

Assistant Manager Greg Bachy said the study will be broken out so that separate numbers will be listed for the infrastructure and the buildings.

Bachy said Mitall and Associates also will determine the cost of building a road through the site that would give access from both Renton Road and Old Leechburg Road.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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