Lazaretto Lazaretto
Source: Delaware County Daily Times
Date: July 18, 2006
Byline: Jeff Gelman

Tinicum awards new firehouse contract

Township commissioners announced Monday night they have set their sights on a Chester Heights company to build a multi-million dollar firehouse.

The announcement was made during a set of meetings in which an elected official accused some preservationists of waging 'a campaign to demonize Tinicum Township for its heroic efforts' to save Lazaretto property upon which the firehouse is scheduled to be built.

Commissioners must wait until their Aug 21 meeting to formally award a $5,928,000 contract to John S. McManus Inc. To construct the firehouse, but Monday night they unanimously approved a notice of intent to award the contract.

In other township news, a frustrated Norbert Poloncarz announced he would 'no longer participate in official township business as the township manager.'

Poloncarz's surprise move, which he said resulted because 'I no longer have the support of a majority of the commissioners,' comes a month after commissioner William Wasch was replaced as president by Thomas Gianchristoforo Jr.

Poloncarz declined to elaborate after the heavily attended meeting of volunteer firefighters and other township residents ended. Michael Messina, the commissioners' new vice president, expressed hope that Poloncarz would stay.

'He's worked very hard and I hope he'll see the projects through,' including building the firehouse on the Lazaretto property, Messina said.

The Lazaretto, along the Delaware River, formally served as a quarantine station, but only after the township saved it from demolition have preservationists realized its potentially immense historical value.

Messina read a prepared statement during the meeting that blasted the preservationists who have released "outlandish falsehoods" to prevent the firehouse's completion. He then called on those who have made the attacks to stop immediately.

For the firehouse project, the McManus company initially was considered the second lowest bidder behind A&E Construction Inc. of Upper Darby, but the township Engineer James McCombie ruled that A&E Construction failed to complete all required bid work and apparently didn't calculate a $150,000 landscaping cost into it bid total.

Commissioners also plan to award additional contracts related to the firehouse for about $1.5 million at their August meeting.