When: Martic Township supervisors meeting, Oct. 4.
What happened: A report found $2 million worth of needed repairs for the township’s facilities.
Why it’s important: The township hired engineering firm Rettew earlier this year to study its facilities. The last significant renovations to the township municipal building, originally built in 1890 as a one-room schoolhouse, was in 1970. Although the township office has a wheelchair-accessible entrance to the rear of the building, hallways and restrooms do not meet federal code for accessibility. Jim Caldwell, the engineer and author of the study, said all of the township’s facilities do not meet modern building codes. One example offered was the public works building directly adjacent to the township offices. The uninsulated block building built in 1970 has unfinished floors that do not capture runoff or spills from maintenance vehicles and lacks a heating system, which means equipment freezes to the ground in winter.
Renovation or new construction: Caldwell said the two primary township buildings would need about $2.3 million in renovations to bring them up to building and accessibility codes. He said those costs were strictly for renovations and did not include any “environmental contingencies,” such as the remediation of harmful materials such as asbestos and lead in the township offices or ground contamination in the maintenance garages. For comparison, Caldwell referenced East Drumore Township, which has a similar sized population as Martic. Caldwell said East Drumore in 2011 consolidated all buildings under one roof for approximately $2.2 million.
Resident response: A few township residents questioned the costs and need for a new municipal building.
Quotable: “Doesn’t ADA only cover employers with 15 or more employees and only if the public is on the first floor,” asked township resident Sara Crill, referring to the Americans with Disabilities Act. She questioned the need to make the entire township building accessible.
Township response: “We have an aging facility that is going to take a lot of money and effort to get the township into the next 50 years, “ Chairman Duane Sellers said. He said that once a renovation project is undertaken, the entire township building, regardless of how many staff work in a building or what portions of a building the public actually has access to, would need to meet all current building and accessibility codes.
No action taken: Sellers cautioned the public on “jumping the gun.” He said the feasibility study was only to review the state of the township’s buildings and not a prelude to approving a long-term construction project. Caldwell added that even if the township were to approve the feasibility study as a template to move forward, between design planning and site studies, it would take several years before ground would even be broken for a new facility.
New stop signs: The township approved purchasing flashing lights alerting drivers to new stop signs placed at the intersection of Route 324 and Red Hill Road. The new signs currently have flashing warning lights owned by the state Department of Transportation, but they will be removed within 30 days of installation of the signs. The township wanted to extend the length of time with its own lights.