If all needed permits are granted, Supervisors agree to start seeking construction bids this month
By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times
EAST MARLBOROUGH — If a number of permits are granted in the coming weeks, the first phase of construction for Unionville Park could be put out to bid later this month, after township supervisors authorized Township Engineer Jim Hatfield to proceed with the project.
Hatfield asked the Board of Supervisors for the OK to move ahead if permits were granted this month, rather than wait until the next supervisors’ meeting — Aug. 5.
“A delay would cost us two or three weeks,” Hatfield said.
And with the anticipated construction schedule, those two to three weeks could be important, he said. The current schedule calls for bids to be accepted through mid to late August, with supervisors awarding construction bids at their September meeting. Assuming that happens, construction on the first phase of the park, the eastern section, would start in mid-September, with primary completion expected before Thanksgiving. Delays would push the work into December, which because of weather and holidays, can be tricky for such work.
The project will be changing slightly from the original plans, in part because the township has an agreement in principle to purchase property adjoining the park from Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company. Instead of building a new parking area for 48 parking spaces on top of the current stormwater retention basin, and a new underground retention basin, the current gravel lot behind the post office and former fire hall will be modified to serve as parking for about 30 spaces. Instead of being covered and completely rebuilt, the existing retention basin will just be upgraded.
The savings from the changes is roughly the same as the cost of acquiring the property from the fire company, officials said.
Most of the funding for construction project is coming from grants from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Chester County — as those grants are time limited, there is some urgency to getting the project moving. Another factor: the township cannot apply for grant money to pay for the second phase of the park from Chester County until the funds from the first county grant have been spent.
The first phase of the project will build out paved and mowed trails through the eastern side of the tract — and some boardwalk areas where there are wetlands. Although much of the trail system within the park will dead end right now, it is expected to connect to a full loop around the park once the entire project is completed. Some of the area will need to be regarded.
In addition, some minor work will have to be done on the gravel parking lot, Hatfield said, including some curbing, and paving for handicapped parking spaces.
Supervisor Robert Weer asked about the status of the old quarry section of the property, where trash and other items have been dumped over the years.
Township Manager Jane Lazlo agreed that it needed to be dealt with, and said she hoped that a combination of volunteer township residents and municipal equipment could be used to remove the debris, which includes unsightly items such as old refrigerators, as a way to make the cleanup cost-effective.
“It absolutely has to be cleaned up,” Lazlo said.