Bids too high for Bolivar boat ramp project
Boaters and fishermen who like to ply the Conemaugh River in the northeast corner of Westmoreland County may yet have a new place to launch in Bolivar.
But the project likely faces a delay because the three bids borough officials opened Thursday were higher than anticipated to build a 30-foot concrete ramp into Tub Mill Creek, a Conemaugh River tributary, said Councilman Ronald Betts.
Bolivar received a $40,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County for the boat ramp at Kelly Memorial Park. Curry & Kepple Inc. of Derry Township, the lowest bidder, came in with a price of $55,000. Vince Building Co. of Greensburg submitted the highest bid at $115,000, Betts said.
Bolivar has fewer than 500 residents.
“We don’t have the money” to pay the difference, Betts said.
Council plans to meet Monday to review the bids. The bids submitted did not meet all the specifications and may be rejected when council meets again Thursday, said Patricia Betts, borough secretary and wife of Ronald Betts.
The project would have included constructing a 40-foot-long gravel path from the parking lot to the ramp, Ronald Betts said. The river is downstream of Kelly Memorial Park, which is on the upstream side of a railroad bridge spanning the creek.
The Kelly Memorial Park boat ramp would be one of the only public boat ramps in the Bolivar area, according to Patricia Betts.
“(Public boat ramps) are few and far between in that area,” said Rob Cronauer, watershed program manager and special project for the Westmoreland Conservation District, which provided Bolivar with technical assistance.
To enhance the use of the boat ramp, the borough wants to partner with Laurel Point Outfitters in Bolivar, which would rent kayaks at the park, Patricia Betts said.
A spokesman for Laurel Point Outfitters could not be reached for comment.
The boat ramp is the first phase of planned improvements to Kelly Memorial Park, Ronald Betts said. The borough has plans to build a 4-foot-wide bridge over Tub Mill Creek to connect with trails on the other side of the stream, which leads to New Florence, Seward and into Johnstown, he said. There also are plans to install lighting and security cameras, as well as permanent restrooms at the park.
The Community Foundation continues to be impressed by the commitment of the community members and civic leaders in Bolivar and how they are thinking creatively to help their community, said Philip Koch, executive director of the Greensburg-based Community Foundation.
“Encouraging recreational activities on Tub Mill Creek through the creation of a boat ramp and additional park improvements will have a lasting economic impact in Bolivar,” Koch said.
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .