Commissioners Accept $165K Proposal For Architectural Services

September 19, 2018

SCRANTON — The Palumbo Group will design renovations and provide other architectural services at the future home of Central Court for a flat fee of $165,000. After voting 2-0 to purchase the property at 1360 Wyoming Ave. earlier this year for $875,000, Lackawanna County commissioners today voted 2-1 to accept the Scranton-based firm’s proposal to design the transformation of the former medical office building, which is located next to Lackawanna County Prison, into Central Court. Despite voting in February to buy the building and voicing support for the project Wednesday, Commissioner Jerry Notarianni voted against accepting the Palumbo Group’s proposal because the county did not seek other proposals for the work. The county isn’t required to solicit bids for professional services, but Notarianni said a request for proposals should have been issued. Notarianni’s no vote surprised Commissioner Laureen Cummings, who abstained from the February vote and intended to abstain from Wednesday’s vote over her opposition to the project’s timing. She ultimately joined Commissioner Patrick O’Malley in voting yes. “I think we could have waited until we were done with our Globe project and (until) all the expenses were done there ... and then moved ahead with the Wyoming Avenue project,” Cummings said. “I did not expect Commissioner Notarianni to vote no on this, so this is something that I’m going to vote yes on because I don’t want to hold up the project for the courts.” Court and county officials have argued that the Wyoming Avenue building is a more convenient location for Central Court and that the arrangement could save the county hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in inmate transportation costs. The Palumbo Group will conduct an architectural evaluation of the building, provide designs and drawings for the renovation project and provide schematic and design development plans to officials before final construction documents are drafted, among other services. The design work will likely take until the end of the year to complete, and the retrofit itself won’t likely begin until February with construction lasting through 2019, firm President John Palumbo said. The estimated cost of construction is about $2.9 million, but Palumbo said his firm will try to reduce that to about $2.5 million by cutting costs where possible. Plans for the building include adding two court rooms, office space and a holding area for prisoners, among other potential amenities. Contact the writer: jhorvath@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9141; @jhorvathTT on Twitter In other business today, commissioners: n Unanimously approved the 2018 Lackawanna County ScrantonMade Holiday Marketplace, which will be held Dec. 7-9, in heated tents outside the former Globe store on Wyoming Avenue in Scranton. n Unanimously approved a 10-year Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance term for 70.21 acres — lots 37 through 43 — in the Valley View Business Park in Archbald to accommodate a 1 million-square-foot warehouse construction project proposed there. LERTA terms exempt property owners from paying a percentage of taxes on improvements done to a property. The LERTA term for lots 39, 40, 41 and 42 will begin Jan. 1, 2020, while the term for lots 37, 38 and 43 will begin Jan. 1, 2021. Both Archbald borough council and the Valley View School District board have approved the LERTA terms. Cherry Hill, New Jersey-based NFI Industries wants to build the warehouse on the lots. n Voted 2-1 to authorize the filing of Local Share Account (gaming) grant applications on behalf of: Abington Heights School District, $40,000 for a districtwide door-entry security upgrade; Archbald Veterans Monument Committee, $559,493.50 for a veterans monument park; Carbondale YMCA, $125,000 for lower level renovations phase I; Clarks Green, $164,850 for two maintenance vehicles with plows; Greenfield Twp., $200,000 for the Greenfield Twp. Sewer Authority plant and facility upgrade; Holy Rosary Center, $23,877 for a basketball court and gym renovations; the Olyphant Borough Freedom Fighter Memorial, $60,000 for a memorial to be erected; Scranton Civic Ballet, $75,790 for a roof replacement; Shopa-Davey VFW, $41,790 for a roof replacement and heating project; Scranton Lackawanna Human Development Agency, $34,813 for weatherization program vehicles; Tripp Park Community Center, $40,000 for building renovations and carpeting; United Community Outreach Food Bank, $44,000 for a fire sprinkler system; VFW Post 7963, $44,640 for a building renovation, ADA ramp and stair replacement; and West Scranton Little League, $48,308 for equipment upgrades at fields. Commissioner Laureen Cummings voted no, arguing LSA money was intended for property tax relief, not community project grants. — JEFF HORVATH

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