Catasauqua Press

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

New municipal complex footprint size is a non-issue

Thursday, May 14, 2015 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

At the May 4 meeting of the Catasauqua Borough Council, Councilwoman Christine Weaver, chair of the borough planning and zoning committee, said the committee's recommendation is for the council to adopt "Plan A" as a footprint for the new municipal building.

The council had earlier debated over three options, rejecting a smaller footprint that would meet current needs and opting for a plan that would allow room to expand. The choice between Plan A and its alternative took up a large part of a previous meeting with council leaning towards the alternative.

In essence, there is no difference in the two proposals, at least based on the size of the footprint. According to Weaver, the footprint of both buildings is the same. The use and location of some rooms is the difference between the two plans.

"We can adjust the space inside the building to account for costs," Weaver said.

Some suggestions made include reserving unfinished space for leasing out and allowing the tenant to build out the space.

Putting a library on the second floor of the building would add significant cost because of the need for stronger floor supports to hold bookcases.

Councilwoman Debra Mellish indicated library representatives would be available to discuss the library's future. According to Mellish, the chances of the library remaining at its existing location are remote.

"The library recognizes the limitations of its existing location," she said. "They are spending a lot of money on repairs and upkeep. The question is no longer if it will stay at the old church, but whether it moves to the municipal building or to another location." A new library could be located in Hanover Township, another option under consideration.

Some of the trusts that provide support to the library have seen improvements in their returns, putting the library in a more secure financial position.

Weaver promised that Spillman Farmer Architects will develop options that can meet council's expectations on cost.

"There are several considerations," she said. "We need to be sure that we don't have a building that is more expensive than we can afford."

"We won't know closer estimates until we get the plans detailed," said Weaver. "Once we get the plans we can bid it and then we will have concrete figures to work with."

Council voted 5-1 to adopt a Plan A as a footprint for the new municipal building with Councilman Brian Bartholomew voting no.