Lower Towamensing Township officials may not access the lower portion of their recreation park until they have a permit in hand.
The situation manifested itself on Tuesday amid complaints by a township resident who again voiced his displeasure with the Stoney Ridge P.A.R.C. along Fireline Road.
Resident Herman Bollinger again brought the matter up for discussion, and told supervisors he took exception to comments made earlier this month by Supervisor Glen Hahn.
At that time, Bollinger accused Hahn of illegally accessing the park, and said he was informed by state Environmental Protection Agency officials that the township didn't have a permit to access that particular area.
Hahn then told Bollinger the reason why Bollinger wasn't able to obtain a copy of a permit was because the township has yet to receive a permit to exit the property. Hahn said that the township does have a permit for the entrance to one gate.
Hahn then asked Bollinger what he had against kids because every month he comes in and complains about the park, which resulted the two to further exchange words.
"It seems like he likes kids also; he likes kids to come and play," Bollinger said. "But, I like kids to be able to come to play without contamination."
Hahn wasn't in attendance, and therefore wasn't able to offer a retort to Bollinger's comments.
Not to be dismayed, Bollinger again reiterated his stance on the matter.
"The park isn't the issue," Bollinger said. "It's how it's built."
Supervisors Chairman Ron Walbert told Bollinger he understood his concerns.
"People call me and question me," Walbert said. "It's the way it's being implemented."
Bollinger then accused Hahn of "not telling the truth."
"If there was a permit, I'm trying to find out," Bollinger said. "This has to be straightened out."
At that, Supervisor Gerry Madden told Bollinger he discussed the situation with township engineer Ron Tirpak.
"He said we don't have a permit (for the lower portion), and shouldn't be using it," Madden said. "Mr. Tirpak told me we could try to get a temporary permit [for construction purposes]."
Walbert said he agreed with that assessment.
"There's a liability issue there," Walbert said. "We were told the existing driveway was substantial enough that trucks could have brought in fill."
Walbert said the board will have to address the matter.
"I guess we have to be more prudent," Walbert said. "We have to cross our t's and dot our i's."
Resident Richard Leiby said that just like Bollinger, he isn't opposed to children having a recreation area to play at.
Walbert explained the rationale behind the eventual acquisition of a temporary permit, which he said would cost the township an amount not to exceed $500.
"We'll have that permit in place," Walbert said. "I think the most important thing is to have a permit."
Township solicitor Jim Nanovic said his understanding was that the township does have a permit for the original entrance.
Walbert said the township does, in fact, have a "valid permit" for the entrance to the park.
For months, Bollinger and Leiby have expressed concerns with the park, where a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in June.
In July, supervisors agreed to apply for a $774,000 grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development.
With assistance from Speaker of the House Keith McCall, the DCED grant will help pay for a combination football/soccer field, another baseball field, and a walking path around the property.
In April of 2008, supervisors applied for a $250,000 grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for the park. That grant, Hahn said, will help pay for the construction of a double basketball court with lighting, as well as additional parking.
Hahn previously said the township wanted to build the fields as a precaution in the event a portion of the Seventh Street ball field in neighboring Palmerton were to have been sold. The field was never sold.
The township purchased the land from the Knights of Columbus in 2000.