The stockpile resulting from work on the Mt. Lebanon Public Works Facility, as pictured in early 2019

Plans in Mt. Lebanon to convert a large stockpile of excavated soil into a small “pocket park” have hit a snag.

On April 29, Mt. Lebanon Commission voted to reject bids related to the project at Robb Hollow Park because they exceed the amounts budgeted for the two components of work at the site, which is next to the municipal public works facility.

The low bid for the removal of part of the stockpile, with associated site grading, came in at $224,000, exceeding by six figures the budgeted base bid amount of just under $122,000.

For the installation of an aggregate pedestrian path and planting of trees and shrubs, the municipality received a single bid of $114,800, about $34,000 more than the budget. Municipal engineer Dan Deiseroth, president of Gateway Engineers, said rebidding should result in multiple vendors submitting more competitive figures.

The challenge, he told commissioners, is in the pricing for material removal.

“Last year, we had a number from a contractor who was ready to come in and take the material away,” he said during the discussion session immediately preceding the commission’s regular meeting. “As you can imagine, contractors’ conditions with the need for fill or take away fill change all the time, and it’s about hitting it at the right point.

“So we put it out to bid in the wintertime, trying to take advantage of the fact that contractors and trucks are mostly available, so people will work at a lesser rate,” Deiseroth added. “But it still came in higher than estimated. My understanding is the place they were going to take it the year before filled up, and they had a longer haul.”

He suggested rebidding later in the year.

“I want to talk to some contractors because given the price of fuel, how much it’s dropped, I’m anticipating that trucking costs are going to go down significantly, too,” he said.

The stockpile, created during the renovation of the public works facility, contains an estimated 9,000 cubic yards of material. About 5,000 cubic yards’ worth is to be hauled to another location.

Mt. Lebanon Parks Advisory Board member Elaine Kramer and her colleagues developed a plan to retain part of the pile and place the “pocket park” atop, a recommendation to which commissioners agreed.

Vehicle parking for the amenity is to be shared with the new firing range building that was constructed as part of the public works project.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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