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Township hires Philadelphia-area law firm specializing in construction law in ongoing, problematic township garage project

By Joe McDonald, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 15 2013 11:19:18 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 16 2013 11:51:01 AM CDT
FORKS TOWNSHIP, Pa. -

Forks Township supervisors Thursday night retained a Philadelphia-area law firm that specializes in construction law to sort through what could be a mountain of legal problems stemming from the township’s long-delayed, leaky, new $4.8 million public works garage.

Township solicitor Karl Kline told the supervisors the firm, Davis, Bucco & Ardizzi, of Conshohocken, “hopefully will be able to avoid litigation” involving the township.

Kline said there could be potentially a large amount of money at issue.

“There’s no question it can be expensive,” he said. “This is not the time of skimp.”

The 23,000-square-foot building had been expected to open by now, Kline said. The building, billed as a state-of-the-art structure, was built largely underground with a green roof, Kline said. Despite its lofty designs, he said the building has been experiencing a lot of water problems.

The law firm will review the contracts, the issues between the contractors and the architects and “analyze where we are,” Kline said.

The township agreed to retain the firm at $350-an-hour for a principal of the firm and $85 an hour for an associate. The township expects to be billed monthly and said it has the option to cancel at any time.

In another matter, the supervisors agreed to seek bids for remediation work on the icon “Cottage in Cottage in the Woods" at 700 Zucksville Road.

The supervisors were briefed on a report on mold problems that were found during an inspection by Keith Roe of Air Care & Restoration, Inc. Roe said the biggest problem is in the basement, which he described as wet and moldy and has some asbestos.

Roe said those problems can be corrected, along with others, for about $20,000. Other work would still be required, including gutting a bathroom, installing air conditioning and dehumidifiers, bringing the total to an estimated $50,000.

Supervisors’ Chairman Erik Chuss said he would like to see the building become an arts or cultural center.

He said it the building does not work out, the township can always sell it, probably for a profit after the rehabilitation work is done. He said the costs of cleaning up the old building would not be paid by taxpayers.

“This is money from developers,” he said.