Hazleton Council To Review Bids For Downtown Building

January 22, 2019

Hazleton City Council will review bids and possibly award a contract at for the second phase of renovations at a former bingo hall in the downtown at a special meeting on Wednesday. Council advertised a special meeting for 6 p.m. Wednesday just a few days after city officials canceled a regular meeting because there were no votes scheduled for ordinances and resolutions. Since the bingo hall renovations are time sensitive, council President Robert Gavio said officials felt it was best to hold a special meeting to ensure the project remains on schedule. “We didn’t want to confuse people,” Gavio said. “We said at the (previous) meeting that the next meeting would be canceled. But, this project is on a time frame.” Bids are for the second phase of renovations planned at the former bingo hall, 13-15 W. Broad St., said Krista Schneider, executive director of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress. Renovations in this phase include interior upgrades to the first floor, which will host a job incubator that was created through a partnership between Penn State Hazleton, CAN DO, Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce and the downtown alliance, Schneider said. The bingo hall will accommodate the Penn State LaunchBox program and provide a place where entrepreneurs can start a business with professional help. The bid opening includes work to develop co-working space, meeting rooms, offices, break and lounge areas, as well as exterior renovations that include a new entrance and storefront windows, Schneider said. Funding for the second phase of upgrades consists of $150,000 in donations from six local banks, a $150,000 gaming grant and $300,000 in Keystone Program funding, she said. The city solicited bids on behalf of the downtown alliance in July for Phase II upgrades, but costs came in higher than anticipated, according to Schneider. Officials have since reworked the specifications and solicited a new round of bids. Schneider hopes that a contract will be awarded Wednesday, as the partnership plans to complete the work by June. DHD Realty donated the former bingo hall in 2016 and more than $232,000 in donations from five local banks helped pay for the first phase of renovations, which included work to install a new roof, blight remediation, structural repairs and code upgrades, she said. Contact the writer: sgalski@standardspeaker.com 570-501-3586

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