by Bob Keeler, The Reporter Online (reposted by permission)
Can you tell they’re excited?
“We have a builder!!! We have a builder!!! Yahooooo,” Chestnut Street Playground Community Cares Facebooked Jan. 7. “Groundbreaking info coming ASAP!!!”
The night before, Souderton Borough Council had approved the winning bid of $267,200.05 from Puhl’s Landscape Co., West Conshohocken, to do the planned renovations at the longtime playground at Wile Avenue and Chestnut Street.
The work will replace and upgrade aging playground equipment, as well as add features for special needs children and interactive pieces to stimulate children’s senses and learning. Community fundraising is helping pay for the project.
In September, the borough rejected all the bids received for the project after the bids came in at much more than had been expected.
Changes were then made to the plans, including dropping, at least for the time being, the installation of public restrooms at the playground. New bids were then sought.
“We attracted far more bidders the second time,” Borough Manager Mike Coll said.
The prices were also better.
“The borough engineer’s estimate was $301,000, so it’s well below the engineer’s estimates,” Coll said of the winning bid.
The cost of the work will be covered by a $195,000 Community Development Block Grant and $80,000 that came from community fundraising, he said.
“We’d like to start the project as soon as possible, with completion by June,” Coll said.
When the initial bids were sought, it was for a specific type of equipment and supplier, which probably hiked prices, officials said when those bids were rejected.
To make the new bids more competitive, bidders were given a few more options of suppliers and equipment that would be acceptable, but that apparently won’t change the end result.
“I believe under Puhl’s proposal, they are actually providing a lot of the equipment we had originally specified,” Coll said.
In another matter at the Jan. 6 council meeting, police Chief James Leary said several people and organizations, including the Souderton-Telford Rotary Club, Souderton police and borough, Generations of Indian Valley and Souderton Mennonite Church, contributed to a holiday giving campaign for local families in need.
Seven families received “an entire Christmas,” he said, with others who needed some assistance but whose needs were less also assisted.
“I don’t know how many families benefitted, but it certainly was a lot,” Leary said.
The Rotary set up a successful Toys for Tots type collection, Godshall and Hatfield Meats each contributed hams and Generations volunteers shopped for gift items, then declined part or all reimbursement for the purchases, he said.
“We ended up with so many lists and we actually had the resources to fill the lists,” Leary said.
The contributions also included home heating oil for two families, he said.