Last updated: March 19. 2014 11:18PM - 2305 Views
By Joe Healey jhealey@civitasmedia.com

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PITTSTON – City Council on Wednesday night approved a $7,850 emergency bid to remove and replace the handicapped ramp on the side of City Hall.

The ramp is currently blocked off with yellow caution tape.

City Administrator Joe Moskovitz said the concrete underneath the ramp has become unstable, likely because of a bad concrete pour when it was installed nearly 20 years ago.

Council awarded the contract to Brandon Balchune Construction of Duryea.

Moskovitz said the city is in the planning stages of a major City Hall renovation project, but this repair must be made sooner.

Part of a $1.2 million U.S. Department of Agriculture loan will pay for an elevator attached to the rear stairwell that will make the building handicapped accessible. Also planned is moving the police department to the basement of City Hall, the former home of the Pittston Memorial Library now being used for storage. The department will go from 790 square feet to about 2,500 square feet.

Other issues, including a failing furnace and crumbling facade, may bring the cost of the project to $2 million.

In other business:

• Pennsylvania-American Water Co. will be replacing water mains on five city streets in the next few months and the streets will be paved after the work is complete. The streets are Prospect Place, Swallow Street, Bolin Street, Johnson Street and Defoe Street.

• The South Main Street/Market Street traffic signal bids were opened and Northeast Signal and Electric Co. of Factoryville was awarded the contract for a base bid of $144,510. The project should be complete by Aug. 14.

• Council approved an offer from Sickler’s Bike and Sport Shop in Exeter to install a bike rack in the parking lot behind the YMCA at no cost to the city. The proposed spot is directly across the street from the entrance and is not used as a parking spot. The area can also be seen from the front desk, so security is not a major issue.

• The city voted to abate back taxes, penalties and interest for three properties owned or being obtained by the city’s Redevelopment Authority. The properties are the LaBarre’s building at 8 N. Main St., a property at 307 S. Main St. and a double-block home at 289-291 S. Main St.

• More than 10,000 people attended the city’s relaunch of the Pittston St. Patrick’s Day Parade tradition.

• Pittston will host the Pennsylvania Municipal League’s Northeast District meeting at Open Space on April 9.

• The city unveiled its updated website, pittstoncity.org, on Monday.

“It’s a significant improvement to the old site,” Moskovitz said. “It’s far more interactive.”

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