BP councilman gets sticker shock over cost of new salt shed
Bethel Park council voted to spend more than $800,000 on a salt storage shed, despite the objection of one councilman who called the purchase a waste of money.
Swede Construction Corp. of Elizabeth will build the storage building at a cost of $853,310. The shed is part of a larger project to build a new public works building at the municipal property on Slater Road. Construction will continue through the summer and both buildings should be ready by fall.
“In my opinion, this is one of the biggest wastes of money this government can spend,” Councilman Brandon Colella said. “I just think we could find a better way to spend almost $1 million.”
Colella dissented on the contract, but the measure passed 7-1, with Councilman Don Harrison absent.
Councilman Mark O’Brien said he shared Colella’s concerns about the cost, but he said council owes it to the residents who live near the public works facility to make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible.
“It is a tremendous amount of money, but it is the right thing to do,” he said.
Residents of Lenox Park Condominiums voiced concerns about the project six months ago and urged council to limit problems with stormwater runoff, noise and erosion.
Bethel Park currently stores its anti-skid materials in open bays that are exposed to the elements. That means some of the salt gets washed away by rain, which can cause environmental issues, as well as deteriorate the quality of the material.
The shed “protects the neighborhood and the environment,” council President Tim Moury said.
It will also allow Bethel Park to store more salt that could be used during an especially harsh winter. Nevertheless, Colella contended that the municipality could have accomplished the same things with a cheaper shed.
Bids for the main building came in lower than anticipated. Council awarded $5.4 million in contracts for that part of the project in December. In 2015, council floated a $9 million bond to pay for the public works building as well as the recently completed renovation of the community center.
The existing public works building is over 50 years old and municipal officials said it is too small for Bethel Park’s needs and has fallen into disrepair.
Council also approved applications with the state Department of Transportation for a new traffic signal at McMurray and Limestone roads and upgraded signals at McMurray and Clifton, McMurray and South Park and South Park and Logan roads. PennDOT has already upgraded the existing signals and it will install the new traffic light soon.
Council approved plans for an O’Reilly Auto Parts store, which will be built at 2919 South Park Road, the site of the former Warehouse Cafe.
Council approved an application to Active Allegheny Grant Program for grant money to expand the Montour Trail.