Get our newsletters

Solebury’s Laurel Park project on hold due to COVID-19


The proposal to pave the parking lot at Solebury’s Laurel Park is ensnared, like so many other plans, in the COVID-19 calamity.

The board of supervisors on Tuesday, May 19, held off on spending up to $141,105 for the project at the township athletic fields complex on Sugan Road.

A vote to postpone a decision until its June 16 meeting was approved unanimously. The board will see if it can get an extension on the contract prices it received for the project.

This came after a defeated motion by Supervisor Kevin Morrissey to postpone consideration of the project until the township knows how much new tax revenue will come in during this COVID-19 year.

“I believe we need to understand more about the current township revenue streams before optional projects such as Laurel Park paving should be pursued,” Morrissey said. “With all the uncertainty that is around us at this point I think the township with its financial surplus and conservative spending practices should provide some level of security.

“Solebury residents should not be concerned with whether the township is able to provide critical services to the community by accessing existing funds to do so. Life is uncertain enough without the township adding that burden to the community.

“I believe the board should consider postponing moving forward with the Laurel Park paving project until the township better understands the financial condition which only additional time will provide,” he concluded.

Supervisor Robert McEwan countered that “as quick as oil prices (involved with paving material) went down, they can just as easily go up.”

Township engineer Robert Wyn explained that it depends on the price of oil at the time of the board vote.

Originally the township budgeted $190,000 for the entire project, Supervisor Chair Mark Baum Baicker said, but due to lower oil prices, the project came in at $141,000, a savings of about $49,000, or more than 25%.

The township also got a $78,000 bid to pave but without a top coat and striping, he said. Those options will now be considered at the June meeting.

In other business, the board approved a certificate of appropriateness for Dennis Hansen to reconstruct a garage on the existing footprint of the original garage in the Historic Zone for a studio at his property at 3795 Aquetong Road in Carversville. The vote was 4 to 1 with John Francis voting no.

The supervisors also agreed to finalize the payment of $155,172 for the purchase of a conservation easement for D&H Holdings, LLC, for the 14.93-acre Solomon property at 3216 Comfort Road. The payment is aimed to protect agricultural, natural and scenic resources.

The board decided to request a Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program grant of $250,000 from the Commonwealth Financing Authority for the Solebury Gateway Trail to extend from Sugan Road to Kitchens Lane.

Contracts were awarded to oil and chip Reeder Road, Ely Road (from Phillips Mill Road to River Road), and Paunacussing Creek Road; and to mill and overlay Bedford Road, Estates Drive, Blenheim Drive, Yorkshire Road and Sugan Road.

The contracts were awarded to Asphalt Maintenance Solutions, LLC, and Bray Brother Inc.

Baum Baicker said the township does not have the final figures on a portion of the work, but “it appears that the actual cost will come in somewhere around $50,000 to $75,000 lower than budgeted due to the impact from the collapse of the oil market.”

In other matters Dudley Rice, Parks and Recreation director, noted that this year’s Solebury Township Summer Adventure Camp, usually held at the New Hope-Solebury Upper Elementary School, has been canceled — another victim of COVID-19.

COVID or no COVID Solebury’s boards and commissions have priorities for the rest of the year and enumerated them via ZOOM for the board of supervisors.