Railroad station plaza approved Entrance, parking will be moved to enhance area

By on March 21, 2012

By: GARY P. KLINGER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

Significant improvements are about to be made to the area of town surrounding the historic train station.

That’s the good news.

But what may be viewed as even better news to local taxpayers is the project to renovate the area will be at no cost to the Borough of Ephrata.

In the first measure, council reviewed PennDOT’s Concurrence to Award Notice for the Railroad Station Plaza Project. This authorizes additional grant funds for a total of $302,541 for the Railroad Station Plaza Project Bid, since the bids came in over budget. The contract for the work was awarded to the qualified low bidder Flyway Excavating Inc. of Lititz for $302,541 subject to receiving an executed Concurrence to Award Notice from PennDOT. This measure was passed at the March 5 working session of council in order to expedite the project.

In the second measure, council awarded a contract to the low bidder Bertolet Construction Corp. of Wernersville for $72,231 subject to receiving an executed Concurrence to Award Notice from PennDOT and notification of additional funding which was also passed at the March 5 session.

Borough Manager Bob Thompson explained that the scope of the railroad station project is create a plaza in front of the existing station where there is currently parking, to hold community events.

The project will involve moving the entrance to the parking lot to the west towards the Royer building, with new parking at an angle nosing in toward the RR station building. The rail trail will be extended through the plaza next to the ReUzit building to the rear of the parking lot and will run next to the retaining wall which separates the upper and lower lot connecting to the caboose. The project will add plantings and trees as well as a pergola and kiosk. New lighting and parking lot surface will also be included.

"At this point all work is covered by two grants and no Borough money is planned," added Thompson. "One grant is a Hometowne Streets Grant obtained by DEI and the other is an Urban Enhancement Grant from Lancaster County."

Thompson also discussed the future of the Ephrata portions of the rails to trails project.

"We currently do not have a trail project scheduled for this year," said Thompson. "The portion from the railroad station to the north is currently in the capital budget for 2015. We do have one in for 2013, extending the existing trail (south) to meet up with Ephrata Township and Akron. That’s just in the planning stage. Eventually Akron will connect to Warwick and the trail will go from Warwick to Ephrata."

Earlier, the first order of business at last Monday night’s meeting of Ephrata Borough Council was the swearing in of three new officers to the Ephrata Police force. This action came immediately following the unanimous vote of the entire council. Those sworn in as the newest members of Ephrata "Finest" include: Yevgeniy Kertsman, Christopher C. Schott, and Daniel M. Albaugh.

Council also approved a request from the Lancaster Unit of the American Cancer Society, per their letter dated Jan. 27, to utilize streetlight and banner poles along East and West Main Street from Church Avenue to Lincoln Avenue for placing big ribbons to aid in awareness of Relay for Life of Norlanco. The ribbons will be attached to the poles with string and remain in place from April 30, through May 30, 2012. This event is subject to receipt of a satisfactory certificate of insurance naming the Borough of Ephrata as additional insured and assurances that all ribbons will be removed no later than Thursday, May 31.

In its report to council, the Municipal Enterprises Committee noted a memorandum from Superintendent of Water and Wastewater, Stephen Bonner, providing notification that there was an upset at Wastewater Treatment Plant #1, causing violations to our NPDES permit. The plant has returned to normal operation. No further action was required on this item.

Council followed a Highway Committee recommendation and authorized the purchase of a 2013 Ford Explorer 4X4 revising Council’s previous authorization last month to purchase a 2012 Ford Explorer 4X4. Revision of the authorized purchase is necessary because Ford implemented its 2012 model year production order deadline one week prior to the borough’s ability to place the necessary order after council award on Feb.13. The revised vehicle will be purchased through the Pennsylvania Department of General Services COSTARS cooperative purchasing program, and through the New Holland Auto Group, New Holland, in the amount of $29,299.36, which includes up-fitting with a two-way radio, fire extinguisher and safety equipment. The revised purchase amount is $570.96 more than the previously authorized amount of $28,728.40. The budgeted amount is $27,000. This vehicle will replace an existing 1999 Ford Explorer 4X4 which will be sold at Lancaster County Auction. Although this particular vehicle purchase is over the budgeted amount, the purchase amount of the previously authorized total vehicle purchases at the Feb. 13, meeting plus this revised vehicle purchase, is $313,010.12, which is $8,989.88 under the total budget amount of $322,000.

"We had taken action as a council on this previously but were unaware of the deadline," explained committee chair George DiIlio. "As a result we missed by several days to a week. We needed to move things along with a 2013 as the 2012s were no longer available through COSTARS."

For additional information on Ephrata Borough, visit its website at ephrataboro.org. Gary P. Klinger welcomes your comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail at klingerglobal@gmail.com. More PLAZA, page A16

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