Borough looking at ways to keep Streetscape under budget

Tyrone Borough is looking at ways to keep its Streetscape project under budget.
The borough is in the last phase of the project and contractor Gordon L. DeLozier has already done much of the work. Two areas remain to be completed. One area is along the VFW side of 10th Street going toward I-99 while the other includes an area around Burger King at the Pennsylvania Avenue/11th Street intersection.
Borough manager Sharon Dannaway explained the project would go over budget if the remaining sections were completed as planned. She said this was due to “cost overruns and some mistakes in planning.”
The borough had awarded a bid for the Phase IIA and IIB of the Streetscape project to DeLozier in 2005 for a bid amount of $965,504.
Streetscape IIA includes West 10th Street running west of Logan Avenue, also East 10th Street going east of Bald Eagle Creek; portions of Pennsylvania Avenue, from East 11th to East 12th Street and Logan Avenue, north of West 10th Street. Phase IIB includes Logan Avenue between West Ninth Street and West 10th Street. Previous Streetscape work had already been done in other areas of downtown Tyrone.
Last month, a site visit was conducted with officials from the borough, PennDOT, Innovative Consulting Group and the contractor in an effort to look at what could be done to keep the project under budget. PennDOT and the borough also met this week to work on the issue.
As part of the project, a flagpole outside the VFW, which crosses into PennDOT’s right-of-way, would have to be removed. PennDOT’s Dave Lybarger told The Daily Herald, “There’s no funding set up to address the flagpole.”
VFW officials became aware of the flagpole issue in June. Alice Ewing, the president of the Tyrone VFW 4559 Auxiliary, has spoken out about her concern over the possible loss of the flagpole in a recent letter to the editor that was published in The Herald.
In her letter, she said, “It has stood there for around 50 years and has never bothered anyone. It stands for our country, our veterans and our freedom.”
She said the pole holds the American Flag and a POW flag.
In a follow-up interview, Ewing said, “I’m really upset about this.”
The VFW’s board is scheduled to meet next week and plans to discuss the issue. The VFW’s James Ewing said, “We’re going to try to keep it.”
He said the VFW’s first option is to go through PennDOT.
To replace the pole, the VFW would have to apply for a highway occupancy permit from PennDOT. The pole as it exists does not conform with PennDOT’s current standards but is “grandfathered” since it was erected decades ago before the standards went into effect. Any replacement pole would need to conform with those standards including certain safety features. Borough officials also noted the current pole has deteriorated.
The current Streetscape design does not include plans to replace the pole. Code Enforcement officer Tom Lang said he thought that was an oversight on the designer’s part.
However, Dannaway said if the VFW went through proper channels and was granted PennDOT approval, the borough would work with the VFW to see that the pole gets replaced. Dannaway could not say where the funding for a replacement pole and its installation might come from.
In regard to the overall Streetscape project, Lybarger said in order for the borough to stay under budget it could eliminate or change some of the remaining work or it could decide not to do the section that includes the flagpole.
Dannaway said a decision would need to be made by mid-August since that is when the contractor wants to proceed with the remaining work.
In regard to the flagpole, Lybarger said PennDOT would not require the removal of the pole if the work were not completed in that area.
Lybarger said any changes to eliminate remaining parts of the Streetscape project could be done through change orders. The borough could still decide to complete the project over the budget. Dannaway said to do that would require council approval since funds would have to be allocated to pay for the additional costs.