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Food bank project makes headway

Published November 05. 2009 05:00PM

A project to rejuvenate the Northern Lehigh Food Bank may finally be able to make some headway.

The Washington Township Board of Supervisors plan to award a bid for the first phase of the project when it meets at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10.

Contacted on Wednesday, JoAnn Ahner, township secretary/treasurer, told the TIMES NEWS Lehigh County officials have agreed to release $85,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds to the township to do Phase I of the project.

As of last week, the project was thought to be in jeopardy after proposals to do the work came in much higher than anticipated after supervisors opened bids for Phase I and II of the project at a special meeting.

Prior to that bid opening, supervisors said no contract would be awarded because the bids had to first be sent to the county for review.

Ashwood Enterprises, of Danielsville, submitted the apparent low bid of $128,712, while A.P. Houser of Emmaus, bid $159,694.

But, both of those figures were way more than the $85,000 the township has in CDBG funds to pay for the project.

On top of that, the township is mandated to spend $40,000 in CDBG funds by the end of the year, or lose it.

Previously, the township had also received $40,000 in CDBG funds that were administered by the county for the project.

Last month, a bid award for the project was delayed after the township received the additional $40,000 in CDBG funds.

That prompted supervisors earlier last month to reject the four bids that were submitted to the township. Rex Homes of Slatington had submitted the apparent low bid of $39,995.

Once completed, the project is expected to double the size of the facility by another 1,200-1,400 square feet.

A receiving door would be installed for delivery, while a concrete wall, wall insulation, a heating system with a heat pump, and a new electrical panel inside the building would all be installed. The project would also wire the building for a cooler and a freezer.

Since the early-1990s, the food bank has operated from out of the former township municipal building, located at 7884 Center St., Emerald, as part of a 10-year lease agreement with the township

The food bank is under the sponsorship of the Northern Lehigh Pastoral Association, which is composed of 14 churches that help support the food bank, as well as other outside churches.

The food bank distributes baskets to needy families in Northern Lehigh and surrounding communities on the first, second and third Thursday of each month, as well as the last Saturday of each month from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

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