NEW HOPE: Council may rebid church renovation project

Ten bids were submitted; lowest was about $240,000 more than anticipated

By Linda Seida, Staff Writer
   NEW HOPE — Bids for the renovation of a former church building that will hold the borough’s new offices and Police Department came in higher than anticipated.
   The Borough Council must decide whether to rebid the project. The decision may be made at the February council meeting after attempts to cut costs.
   ”If we rebid, I would hope that we would be in a position to award a contact no later than April 2009,” Borough Manager John Burke said. .
   Ten bids were submitted ranging from $1.8 million to $2.9 million.
   The lowest bid was about $240,000 more than anticipated, according to Mr. Burke.
   The borough purchased the former St. Martin of Tours Church and rectory for $2 million from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 2007. Another $1.5 million is earmarked for the church’s and rectory’s conversion.
   Plans call for the renovation of both the two-story rectory and the stone church. Also, an addition of 1,884 square feet is planned for the Police Department. Police plan to move into the church basement.
   The main area of the church will hold council functions and community gatherings. The rectory will house offices.
   The church was built in 1895. The diocese closed the church when the parish moved to a new church on Riverstone Circle in 2000.
   The average taxpayer will owe about $95 a year for 25 years to help pay off the debt, beginning in 2009.
   A parking lot at the New Street site has space for almost 90 vehicles. Parking revenue from this lot also will help offset the borough’s debt.
   The borough purchased a 3.1-acre parcel with the parish retaining 2.6 acres, including the cemetery.
   The church is a one-story masonry building with a partial basement. The masonry rectory is 2½ stories. There is a two-car garage.
   The church and basement are 5,860 square feet. The rectory is 3,347 square feet. The garage is 592 square feet.