York County officials have no intention of backing out of a more than $300,000 plan to build new restrooms and a parking lot at Rocky Ridge County Park.
In fact, county President Commissioner Steve Chronister claims the project could serve as a local economic stimulus move that will preserve jobs in the county.
Scrapping the work would be "like laying off people in the county," he said Wednesday. "You're hurting the economy when you do that."
In January, commissioners approved the project -- part of the 2002 master plan for the park -- and awarded it to five contractors. More than 25 bids were considered.
According to minutes from that meeting, the total of the bids was at least $407,000. On Wednesday, however, Tom Brant, county parks director, told commissioners the project costs would be $334,994.
Contacted Wednesday night, Brant said he did not have enough information to explain the discrepancy.
Recently, the project caught the public's attention when concerns rose about its cost.
The commissioners said they approved it because it had been planned since fall 2007 and that the county had applied for a $400,000 grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Under the grant, the county would have to pay half the cost with money from the park system's budget -- an amount that county administrator Chuck Noll said was factored in the county's 2009 budget.
With the county's revenues in danger of falling short of expectations, the commissioners want to improve what they view as a dependable source of money. According to Brant, the 750-acre park in Springettsbury and Hellam townships brought the county $18,875 last year and its Christmas Magic festival generated $152,643.
The project calls for the removal of two seasonal restrooms that have stood since they were built around the late 1960s, Brant said. It will also provide a new driveway, he said.
The new facility, measuring 26 feet by 37 feet, is supposed to be open year-round.
As for the actual cost of the project, county officials say it seems high because of the state's requirement to pay the prevailing wage for labor.
County engineer John Klinedinst said the expense might have been boosted by 15 percent to 25 percent just to meet pay rates set for municipal projects that cost more than $25,000.
LAKESIDE EAST TO BE APPRAISED
The York County commissioners on Wednesday unanimously decided to appraise part of the county's Lakeside East property in Lower Windsor Township, a parcel that gained attention during the county's recent eminent domain controversy.
Walter Appraisal Services of Harrisburg will be paid up to $6,500 to conduct the appraisal.
The targeted area of the property is a section around what is called the Byrd-Leibhart site. It was once the burial grounds and a village for the Susquehannock Indians, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in January.
The county purchased the land last year as part of the Lauxmont Farms settlement.
Officials said the appraisal is required for a state grant the county applied for last year.