AOAA authority votes to grant work extension
SHAMOKIN - The Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) Authority voted Monday to grant a 29-day extension to the general contractor who is overseeing the construction of its $1.6 million welcome center.
The building is taking shape; it's being framed and has had a roof and windows installed. Site work continues in the area and drainage is being completed ahead of a cement pour this week.
Project deadline for Paul Risk Associates had been Thursday but was pushed back to Oct. 18, caused by paperwork issues between Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and a second electrical contractor.
Jim Backes, authority chairman, said the project essentially belongs to PennDOT. Pat Mack, vice chairman, said bids were submitted electronically through a state website and were opened, reviewed and awarded by the agency and the project engineer. The authority board wasn't part of the decision-making, they said.
PennDOT has taken issue with paperwork regarding state laws on Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) submitted by Shannon A. Smith Inc., of Myerstown. The Smith firm, already under contract for mechanical/HVAC at the site, was the second lowest bidder on the electrical work at $96,953. It was next in line for the job after the lowest bidder, J.B. Electric Corp., of Minersville, had its $92,390 bid rejected on a DBE issue, Backes said.
A hearing by a three-member state panel is scheduled for Oct. 2 which will decide the fate of the Smith bid. If it's also rejected, PennDOT will turn to the third-lowest bidder, Backes said.
He and Mack agreed that it's likely the project deadline could again be pushed back as the electrical contractor issues are settled.
PennDOT has awarded a contract to Reading Materials Inc., Skippack, Montgomery County, on its low bid of $274,920.65 to install an access road from Route 125 in Coal Township into the park. It's also a PennDOT project, Backes said. A pre-construction meeting is scheduled and work is expected to begin shortly. The project is funded by a $300,000 grant from Appalachian Regional Commission.
Payments of $474,491.70 to Risk and $2,818.88 to Bognet Inc., plumbing contractor, via Pennoni Associates, engineer, were approved by the authority.
A local riding club, Anthracite Trail Riders, hosted a benefit ride for Geisinger Children's Miracle Network on Saturday. About 300 riders participated in the 30-mile ride. Authority members commended the group and its members for a well-run event.
Barry Yorwarth, authority member, said Risk feared some damage would come to the construction site. However, there was none, which he said is a "feather in (ATR's) cap."
ATR carries its own insurance, a caveat that all groups must have to use the AOAA property. The authority itself is "close" to getting its own insurance, too, Backes said, which is a major hurdle to opening the park to the public. Negotiations continue with insurance providers.
ATR will begin selling AOAA passes to its members beginning Saturday. The passes are good through the end of the year.
The authority accepted a $2,370 check from Jeep Jamboree USA for its August event and a $500 donation from Zimmerman's Automotive for that event. Eric Sebastian of Black Heart MX gave the authority a $100 discount on the creation of access passes.
Carsonite trail signs will be purchased at a cost not to exceed $1,500 from Berntsen International Inc. of Madison, Wisc.
Painting materials will be purchased locally not to exceed $1,000 to be used at the welcome center.
"Restricted Area" signs will be purchased at a cost not to exceed $300 and will be posted in the areas of conservation projects, air holes and such.
The Pennsylvania College of Technology 4x4 group was approved for access to AOAA on Oct. 19 and 20.