Mifflinburg seeking engineering proposals for Tot Lot project

Apr. 18—MIFFLINBURG — The borough council of Mifflinburg will seek proposals from design consultants for the proposed tot lot at the Mifflinburg Community Park.

At Tuesday night's public meeting, borough project manager/supervisor Rob Rowe informed council members that the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources required the borough to have a design consultant on board to assist with the design of upgrades to the park and prepare the bid documents. The unexpected expense had higher than expected quotes from Herbert, Rowland & Grubic Inc.

"We did not realize that DCNR would be requiring the borough to hire a design consultant to install a tot lot playground," said Rowe. "The company the borough was working with for the grant process is a COSTARS-approved vendor that purchases Playworld equipment and does the installations all over the country. They do layout and design of the playgrounds and work with communities to do community build projects."

However, said Rowe, they do not provide survey base mapping and the ability to create the bid documents for bidding.

"We weren't anticipating parts of the project were going to have to be bid," said Rowe. "We were expecting everything to have gone through a COSTARS state-approved contract, some of the services were to be donated and some services we were thought to be minor enough to not warrant bidding (under the bidding threshold). However, DCNR told us otherwise."

The engineer will provide the following services: survey base mapping, design, bid documents (specs and plans), grant assistance and construction administration for the Tot Lot project as well as survey base mapping of the entire park for future projects.

Rowe said borough council decided to have staff seek proposals from other design consultants to compare.

The project is spearheaded by the Mifflinburg Community Parks Action Projects (MiffCPAP), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization comprised of community members who volunteered their time to assist the borough in securing funds through grant writing and fundraising efforts to enhance recreational assets in the borough. The organization secured $134,432 through Union County's American Rescue Plan Act funds and a $196,200 grant from DCNR to construct the lot in the western portion of the park along North Fifth Street.

The 200-square-foot tot lot, which would be located on the west end of the park formerly occupied by the Country Putter mini-golf course, would have rubberized safety surfaces and climbing structures lower to the ground and without open spots for kids to fall through. Among its other features would be swings that include handicapped swings and swing-along swings as well as a merry-go-round to accommodate wheelchairs and a pollinator garden, said Musser.

Borough Manager Margaret Metzger said the current budget has $125,000 set aside for park improvements.

Board President Beverly Hackenberg worried the final project would be too expensive if the engineering fees are so high.

No bids for fire company project

In an unrelated project, the borough received no bids for the structural work for the Fire Hall Door Replacement Project for the Mifflinburg Hose Company, at 325 Chestnut St.

The fire department needs to renovate the garage and outside street because they're not big enough to accommodate the incoming new ladder truck when it arrives in 2025. The fire company ordered a 100-foot aerial truck for $1.4 million and a new engine truck for $800,000 last year. However, the ladder truck is too large to fit in the bay garage as it is currently constructed with three other trucks.

Rowe said eight companies picked up documents for the bid, but no bids were received. He said he didn't "have a good feel" for why this occurred.

The council members voted to seek bids again with a changed competition date for the Sept. 1 project.