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Chester County Press

Penn Township supervisors delay decision on sports park bids

09/14/2023 12:15PM ● By Marcella Peyre-Ferry

The Penn Township Board of Supervisors last month voted to not release any escrow money from the Roseview development. But at the Sept. 6 meeting, the board approved the release of $64,000, as recommended by the township engineer. This leaves $57,819.78 in the escrow account to cover the costs of remaining infrastructure work on the subdivision.

Roseview residents and the homeowners association have objected to the release of any escrow money, contending that the work remaining to be done would cost more than the total escrow. Residents have multiple complaints, with the most serious and most expensive related to stormwater and grading.

Money is held in escrow to ensure that the developer completes all the infrastructure items on the approved subdivision plan. As portions of the project are completed corresponding amounts of money are released to the developer. 

Township solicitor Winifred Sebastian explained that the board may not withhold money for items unless they are a part of the land development plan.

“This money is only for the guarantee that the plans are constructed as shown on the plan,”  Sebastian said. “We have a contractual obligation to only hold money where things that were not done, not that they were not done well.”

The board delayed taking action on bids for the construction of Phase Two of township sports park known as the residential activity area. The work, as bid, includes stormwater grading of the entire 37-acre parcel as well as electric, water and landscaping. Facilities include a pickleball court, multipurpose areas and driveways.

Four bids were received for the project ranging from $7.3 million to $11 million. The bids are significantly higher than the 2020 budgeted estimate of $4.5 million.

Not included in the original estimate was the grading of the entire property. It was included in the bidding process now based on the idea that it would be cheaper overall to do the grading all at one time. Then, when the township is ready to start the next phase, the site would be ready to install ballfields. 

Instead of awarding bids at this time, the bids will be reviewed to see whether the price can be reduced by removing some items.  Possible reductions could be limiting the grading and changing the material for the walkway around the parking lots. 

“There’s some significant numbers we think we can work with to bring that price back down,” township engineer Dennis O’Neill said.

The board has 90 days to make a decision and award the bids.

The board awarded a bid to Long’s Paving in the amount of $3,955 for repairs to Woodview Road. There is an area where the road is sinking and creating a dip that appears to be getting bigger.

The board heard from Denis Newbold, who requested the township contact PennDOT concerning the future of the Route 1 interchange at Route 796.  At first, PennDOT gave the township the option of signal lights controlling traffic, or two teardrop-shaped loops similar to traffic circles. At that time the board supported the teardrop-shaped loops, but PennDOT later presented new traffic amount predictions that would require lights instead. 

Newbold contends that PennDOT’s new numbers are inflated, and asked the board to withdraw its support of the signal lights until numbers can be confirmed and questions answered. 

At the close of the meeting, the board heard a Kelton Road resident’s complaint about people shooting with high-powered weapons in the township. Although there is no local ordinance against shooting in the township, everyone must comply with state regulations. Sebastian suggested calling 911 if there are possible violations, such as trespassing or firing in residential areas. 

Penn Township will hold its annual Fall Festival from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14  at the township park. There will be vendors, live music, food trucks, beer and wine, treats, a children’s carnival and much more.