By ROBERT LINNEHAN
Five planning firms officially submitted bids last Thursday vying to be the replacement for the ousted firm of Heyer, Gruel & Associates.
Commissioners agreed to release the planning firm from the Bancroft redevelopment project after it was decided that a new direction needed to be taken for the property.
Five interested planning firms officially responded to an RFP published by the borough several weeks ago, Borough Administrator Sharon McCullough said.
The RFP advertised for a future planner that will look at the feasibility of a number of plans for the property, including open space, mixed use, and market rate senior housing, which includes a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).
McCullough said the RFP put a high priority on public participation and public input for the project.
The planner will be asked to meet extensively with residents living near the Bancroft property — as well as other Haddonfield residents — to hear their concerns and their suggestions about what should be done at the campus.
Planning Design Collaborative submitted a bid for $68,604, GroupMelvinDesign submitted a bid for $39,866, CME Associates submitted a bid for $27,160, and Phillips, Preiss, and Grygiel submitted a bid for $59,560.
Also, Clarke, Katon and Hintz submitted a bid with estimated hourly rates, McCullough said, not a full package estimate.
McCullough said she would analyze the packages from the firms and make another estimate based on how much work the borough believes the project will take.
The commissioners and McCullough will meet this week and discuss the firms. The next step will be to decide whether the firms need to come in for an interview or if the commissioners believe there is enough information presently to make a decision, McCullough said.
A decision on the next planner will likely be made in December if everything goes well, she said.
“I’m happy that five firms extended bids to us. I think that’s a good response when you’re looking at this kind of work,” she said. “I knew there was interest because several planners had reached out to borough representatives asking us for more information. Several people called me personally as well. There is definite interest here.”
Since 2005, the borough spent about $172,000 on various projects with Heyer, Gruel & Associates. This figure does not include 2010.
Commissioner Ed Borden has said that the information developed by Heyer, Gruel & Associates will be of use to the new planning firm.