Centre County courthouse lots to be paved

CHRIS MORELLI/THE EXPRESS The Centre County commissioners approved a plan to advertise for bids to pave the gravel lots near the Centre County courthouse.

BELLEFONTE — There are three gravel parking lots near the Centre County courthouse that county employees use on a daily basis. The gravel can cause issues, especially in the winter.

With that in mind, the Centre County commissioners approved a plan at Tuesday’s meeting to pave the lots, which are located along High Street and Penn Street. Centre County Deputy Administrator Bob Jacobs asked the commissioners to approve advertisement of the invitation for bids, which they did unanimously.

The gravel lots are located directly across from the fourth floor entrance to the courthouse. The lots sit where private homes once were.

“Over the years, the county acquired these properties and utilized them for parking,” Jacobs explained.

According to Jacobs, the three lots play host to approximately 40 parking spaces, which are exclusively used for county employees.

Jacobs said that paving the gravel lots will present some challenges.

“The gravel lots have some varying degrees of elevation. We looked at numerous options for re-doing these parking lots. Due to the varying elevations, the grading that would be necessary at the top of the hill… and there’s exposed bedrock… so it would be very, very expensive to modify the area for formalized parking areas,” Jacobs said.

Instead, the county will look to take the three lots and do some “minimal” grading and then apply pavement to the area.

“What this will do, essentially, is improve safety for the employees who park there,” Jacobs said.

The county is hoping to get the paving done before winter, he said.

To counteract any runoff, Jacobs said that concrete curbing will be added to parts of the lots.

“That will direct the stormwater to the back alley areas. It minimizes impact to adjoining properties,” Jacobs said.

Bellefonte Borough has been notified of the county’s plan and tentatively approved it.

“I think we’re good to go,” Jacobs said.

Commissioner Michael Pipe said that the safety issue is the number one concern.

“It’s a challenging lot. You have to cross High Street to get across to the courthouse. Anything we can do to minimize … especially in the winter, it’s safety. That’s really what we’re going for here,” Pipe said.

Plowing the lot in the winter months will be much easier once it is paved, Jacobs said.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners:

— Approved a subgrant award notification letter from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) for the Centre County HOPE Initiative Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-Based Program projects. The total award is federally funded in the amount of $114,356 for the period of July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.

— Moved to next week’s consent agenda submission of the 2019-2020 PCoRP Loss Prevention Grant Program application in the amount of $9,500 toward a body scanner at the correctional facility. Funding is for the period of June 1, 2019 through May 31, 2020.

— Moved to next week’s consent agenda acquisition of two vehicles to be placed in the county’s business fleet. These vehicles will be provided as a Penn State in-kind service in the total all-inclusive amount of $31,377.50. The vehicles are a 2015 Ford Explorer with 74,769 miles ($11,550) and a 2015 Ford Expedition with 81,549 miles ($19,827.50).

— Moved to next week’s consent agenda contract renewal with MidPenn Legal Services to provide legal advice and representation for persons with need, as determined by the Centre County Office of Aging. The contract total is $23,615, which is funded as follows: Federal ($11,807.50) and state ($11,807.50) for the period of July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2022.

— Reminded Centre County residents that they have less than a month to register to vote for the November election. The last day to register is Monday, Oct. 7.

The commissioners will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at the Willowbank Building in Bellefonte.