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FARRELL Site will cost city $80,000



Published: Mon, February 17, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



City officials hadn't been officially informed of the county's request as of this morning.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

FARRELL, Pa. -- The Mercer County commissioners say they will build a new district justice office at the location picked by the city, but Farrell will have to come up with about $80,000 to make it happen.

That's how much site preparation, a parking lot, some landscaping and a sidewalk at the Spearman Avenue-Roemer Boulevard site will cost, said Commissioner Kenneth Seamans, the county's liaison on the project.

The city and the county have been at odds over the location of a new office for District Justice Henry Russo with the city insisting on the Spearman-Roemer site. Farrell already has spent about $100,000 to buy and clear the land for the project.

The county, citing high construction costs at that location, has been looking at other sites. None of them has panned out, however.

Downsized building

Seamans said the county went back to the architect on the Spearman-Roemer site, asking him to reduce the estimated $410,000 construction cost of the proposed 3,400-square-foot building.

The county wanted the project to be in the range of $210,000, Seamans said.

A revised building plan has been presented that reduces the structure to about 2,500 square feet and changes some of the materials to be used in construction, reducing the building price to $240,000, Seamans said.

The county is willing to pay that amount but not the additional $80,000 or so it will cost to complete the project, he said, noting that the commissioners sent the city a letter Wednesday asking that Farrell pick up that expense.

Letter not received

City Manager LaVon Saternow said this morning that the letter hadn't been received nor has city council discussed the possibility of coming up with the additional funds. She offered no guess on how council will react.

Mayor William Morocco couldn't be reached to comment.

"The ball is now in their park," Seamans said. If the city refuses the request, the county is back to "square one" on finding a new site for the office, he said.

Russo's office is now located in antiquated facilities on Mercer Avenue in Hermitage.

gwin@vindy.com




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