Last updated: July 18. 2013 12:27AM - 873 Views
By - mguydish@civitasmedia.com - (570) 991-6112

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WEST PITTSTON — The Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority board briefly discussed some high-ticket items at its Tuesday meeting, including $240,550 contract with Atlas Construction Co. for repairs to seven railroad bridges in five counties, and a total of $245,0276 received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for extensive flood damage repairs at the authority’s Luzerne Avenue office building.

Board secretary and authority office manager Margaret Thomas said the repairs to the railroad bridges would be covered primarily with a $168,385 grant from the state’s Rail Freight Assistance Program. The remainder would be funded by the Luzerne and Susquehanna Railway, which leases the track and bridges owned by the authority.

Thomas said the lease requires the railway to maintain track, while bridge maintenance is the responsibility of the authority.

Thomas also told the board FEMA had increased the amount it would pay for repairs of the authority-owned office building in West Pittston caused by the 2011 flooding.

Total estimated damage was about $750,000, Thomas said. Flood insurance maxed out at $500,000 but the actual payment was about $383,000 after claims adjusters accounted for depreciation of older assets. Thomas said FEMA initially allocated $170,890 toward restoration of the building, but that figure didn’t take into account upgrades for code compliance. FEMA took those costs into consideration and increased the amount for the building.

On the plus side, Thomas reported a new tenant moved into the building, renting 760 square feet, and two potential tenants are looking at renting a total of about 450 square feet.

Other costs loom. Thomas told the board that authority staff met with paving contractors to get an estimate on repair of potholes at the Market Street Square parking lot near the train station, and the estimate was $31,267. She said a contractor suggested a “tar-and-chip” coating that would be considerably less expensive but also less durable. The board took no action.

And the board was told a private company had purchases property adjacent to railroad property owned by the authority. The private property had become an illegal dumping ground that was cleaned up, but dumpers were accessing it by crossing railroad land. The new owner has asked the Redevelopment Authority to install gates to limit access. The board asked Thomas to get an estimate.

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