Mt. Lebanon is moving forward with a new master plan for municipal parks and feasibility study for an expanded recreation center.
Six consulting firms have submitted proposals for the project, and Mt. Lebanon Commission could award a contract as soon as its May 25 meeting. The low bid is for $99,500, the only one under the $113,800 allocated in the municipal budget.
During their latest discussion session, commissioners agreed to a maximum expenditure of $150,000 so the project team, led by municipal planner and assistant manager Ian McMeans, could interview representatives from more than a single firm.
“We’re not required to award the lowest bidder in this case because it is a professional service,” Mindy Ranney, commission president, said.
Implement the plan and study represents one of five priority projects identified by the commission for 2021, after the effort was waylaid to a large degree in the past year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When the commission at the time was putting together the 2020 budget, the parks advisory board came to the commission and asked for funding for an update to the parks master plan,” McMeans said. “The most recent parks master plan for the municipality was approved in 2003, and generally speaking, parks plans have a 10- to 15-year useful life.”
Around the same time, he said, the municipal sports advisory board reported “a need within the community for some additional indoor space for sports and recreation activities.”
“We discussed that there was some overlap and congruency between the two plans, that both of them were going to involve components of census information and demographic research and market studies,” McMeans said. “Rather than doing duplicative work and doing two separate studies, we could combine them into one study that did both components.”
To help foot the bill, the municipality applied for a grant that was anticipated but ultimately not awarded.
Regarding the proposals for the work, which were received in April, five of the six firms submitted bids under $150,000. Members of the project team planned to conduct interviews the week of May 17 to arrive at a recommendation for the contract.
“I’d be happy to provide a summary of which group the project team is recommending. I could even potentially reach out to that group and see if they can come to the discussion session and give a brief presentation,” McMeans said, referring to the commission’s May 25 gathering that will precede the voting meeting.
Optimally, a contract would be awarded that evening.
“From a planning standpoint, there is certainly an advantage to having the consultant being able to go out and tour the parks during their season of highest usage,” McMeans said.