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Task Force to Choose A&E Consultant by December

The borough sent out seven Requests for Proposals to consultants ahead of the first meeting of the 311 W. Main Task Force. A proposed budget of $50K will pay for services.

Seven arts and entertainment consultants have been sent Requests for Proposals to guide the in its goal toward refurbishing the former

The RFPs were sent out ahead of the inaugural meeting of the task force.

“I ask forgiveness on that,” said borough manager Timi Kirchner to the task force last week. “We did it essentially so the task force could hit the ground running.”

Proposals are due Nov. 14, at which time a selection committee will choose three to present their proposals to the task force. The committee will then select one at its meeting in December, and give its recommendation to council so it can hire the consultant next month.

“We sent this proposal out to seven consultants who were recommended to us by different folks who work in the field,” Kirchner said.

The selection committee is Kirchner, parks and recreation director Carl Saldutti and councilwoman Mary Fuller, and task force members Doug Pett, Dawn Harvey and James Royale.

Kirchner told the task force last week that $50,000 is in the proposed budget to fund the services of a consultant in 2012.

She said there is no requirement of taking the highest or lowest bidder; it is not a bid, but a professional service.

She said the RFP included language to explain the need for a consultant. The RFP contained background on the situation, including how “the building is in the heart of the downtown and because residents and businesses have shown interest in turning the building into a downtown destination, hence promoting the economic vitality of the downtown, borough council enacted an ordinance creating the 311 W. Main Task Force.”

“We need somebody with expertise who has taken communities through this process before and who will then guide us through it,” Kirchner said. “We are asking for a consultant with strong backgrounds in artistic and technical capabilities, experience with similar projects, who know who the project personnel area and their qualifications and references. We are asking them to tell us what the proposed duration of the project is, we are asking for a proposed price, and an outline for what the task force should be doing.”

 Kirchner said the borough has received several calls about the consultant position.

After the meeting, Kirchner said the task force’s goals are defined by the ordinance, and any RFP going out will be putting words from the ordinance in it.

“It wasn’t as if the task force was having to create what their tasks were going to be. We already have the ordinance to say how the task force should move forward,” she said. “We weren’t going to select a consultant without the task force being involved.”

Kirchner would not reveal the names of the consultants who were sent the Request for Proposals.

She said six of the seven are from Pennsylvania, with three from Philadelphia and one each from Narberth, Wyndmoor and Paoli. The seventh consultant is from Vermont.

“For the most part, the consultants sent to us were recommended by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. They are well connected in arts and entertainment field, and they have an extensive list of organizations associated with them,” she said. “They do this work in communities all over the place, and that’s who we felt would be most helpful to us.”

The $50,000 proposed budget for the consultant is coming from parks and recration because the department has a strong arts and entertainment component in its programming.

Furthermore, the task force also has the services of Spiezle Architects, who is the firm conducting the borough-wide facilities study. Kirchner said the firm will give the task force “a reality check as to what this building really can do.”

Spiezle will be paid from the capital fund, she said.

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