Citing higher-than-expected bids, ATA places project on indefinite hold

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Punxsutawney Borough Council learned Monday that the ATA building project along North Findley Street has been placed on hold indefinitely.

Borough Manager Ben White said bids to construct a terminal came in higher than what ATA had to spend on the project.

White said that St. Marys is going through a similar situation, as its terminal project was also bid and came back too high.

“I’ve been in contact with state Rep. Sam Smith and state Sen. Joe Scarnati to alert them that ATA is going to discuss with them the possibility of securing some additional funding to help get these buildings constructed,” he said. “It’s not a borough project, but it is happening in the borough, and we want to see something happen on that site.”

Council member Roger Steele said he was concerned about an archway — part of the former Jefferson Theatre — that was supported with wood when that block of buildings was torn down on North Findley Street.

Steele said he thinks the borough should monitor the situation since the archway was supposed to be only temporary.

The archway is to be included in the construction of the terminal.
Gabriel J. Uljon, ATA director of facilities and stationary equipment, said at a March 8 pre-bid meeting that it has been a long five years in trying to build the terminal.

Bids for the terminal were due March 22, with construction to begin within 90 days of approval.

The borough partnered with ATA in the demolition of the former buildings located along North Findley Street, which included the former Punxsy Beauty School, Spencer Building and the Army-Navy Club.

Also Monday, council:
• Approved hiring James R. Overly Jr. as a member of the sewer vactor crew.

• Approved hiring Judd A. Glover as a part-time maintenance worker to mow grass in the borough’s parks.

• Approved Resolution 2011-8, an update of the Civil Service Commission rules and regulations mandated by the state and proposed by the Punxsutawney Civil Service Commission at its meeting last Friday.

• Approved a motion for the Civil Service Commission to advertise administering a test to create a list of Punxsutawney Borough Police officer candidates.

Council member Larry Chenoga said he was against the commission offering an exam until all the updates were approved and added to its rules and regulations.

Chenoga said he and the other members of the personnel committee would like to have a meeting with Police Chief Tom Fedigan and Mayor James Wehrle regarding issues that he felt needed to be discussed.

The time to have that meeting is now, Chenoga said, because there are certain things that must be discussed as to how the police department does business.

Fedigan said he, too, has some concerns to discuss with the committee.
“The things I want to discuss have to do with personnel, and can’t be discussed in a public meeting,” he said.

Chenoga said he feels it would take more than one meeting to discuss these many issues and bring a recommendation to council.