Strasburg town council to vote on paying for town park

STRASBURG — The Strasburg Town Council is set to vote next month on how much money it will spend on a planned park next to the Town Hall, after a bid came in that would leave the town with a shortfall of over $250,000.

That shortfall means that the town is going to have to pay to cover the gap, or it must limit the scope of the project.

During a Town Council work session on Monday, Town Manager Wyatt Pearson said that he plans to come to Town Council next month with a number of options for how they could fund the park.

The Council members agreed with Pearson’s proposal and largely spoke about wanting to see the park stand out in downtown Strasburg. Council member Seth Newman, for instance, said that he wanted to invest in the park’s pavilion.

“I want to make sure…that that pavilion has a ‘wow’ factor to it,” Newman said. “I don’t care what anything else has to look like, but that has to have that ‘wow.'”

Mayor Rich Orndorff, meanwhile, said that he wanted to see the entire park stand out.

“I think the ‘wow factor’ even needs to go beyond the pavilion,” Orndorff said.

But Don LeVine and other council members said that they did not want to dip too far into the town’s contingency fund in order to cover the projected shortfall.

“[The contingency fund] is there for a purpose, but there’s a limit to what’s there,” LeVine said. “I’m not trying to be negative, but I think we have to look at a larger picture for this town.”

During the meeting, Pearson said that KEE Construction provided a low bid of around $900,000 for the project. Previously, the town had projected that the park would cost $650,000.

During the meeting, Pearson attributed the shortfall largely to timing. Construction companies are in demand right now and are raising their prices accordingly.

“[Construction companies] don’t need the work right now,” Pearson said.

Meanwhile, the park is being funded in part by a state grant that comes with a timeline of May 2018 — meaning that the town does not have the flexibility to wait for prices to improve.

“Right now is a substantially difficult time to put this project out for bid, but we just don’t have the time,” Pearson said.

The park funding plans will come to a vote during Strasburg’s next Town Council meeting on Dec. 12, Pearson said.