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Lower Towamensing Township officials accused of illegally accessing recreation park

Published December 09. 2009 05:00PM

A Lower Towamensing Township man has accused an official of illegally accessing a recreation park.

Resident Herman Bollinger told the township's board of supervisors on Tuesday that township officials cannot access the Stoney Ridge P.A.R.C. along Fireline Road because they do not have a permit to do so.

Bollinger told supervisors he was informed by state Environmental Protection Agency officials that the township has no permit to enter the Stoney Ridge P.A.R.C. along Fireline Road.

"I had a telephone call (Monday) morning that they talked to somebody who said we got a gate, and are going to lock the gate until we get a permit," Bollinger said. "Then I drove back, and the gate was open."

Bollinger then alluded to a conversation in which a judge told him "a picture's worth a thousand words."

"The EPA notified me about some stuff, and asked me questions," he said. "I told them to buy a camera and take pictures."

Supervisor Glen Hahn took exception to Bollinger's claim.

"What do you have that you don't like kids? Because this is every month you come in (and complain)."

Bollinger told Hahn he has "nothing against kids", and then proceeded to tell Hahn to "shut up."

"You don't tell me to shut up," replied Hahn.

Bollinger said his problem had to do with Hahn's actions.

"We are talking about the way money is spent, and I think it's unnecessary," Bollinger said. "I'm talking about the way dirt is hauled around (because) it's polluted."

Supervisors Chairman Ron Walbert told Bollinger the township has detailed documents on record in an attempt to be "transparent."

"We have three reports here," Walbert said. "It includes all the data for the year 2009."

But, Bollinger said that wasn't his point of contention.

"That is not the point," Bollinger said. "The way he's screwing around out there at the park, it's pathetic."

Hahn then told Bollinger the reason why Bollinger can't obtain a copy of a permit is because the township has yet to receive a permit to exit the property.

"We aren't operating without a permit," Hahn said. "We have a permit for (the entrance to) one gate, and one that's in the works (to exit the property)."

Walbert told Bollinger supervisors will look into the matter.

"We'll get the information that we're getting," Walbert said. "Instead of debating this, let's get the facts."

Resident Richard Leiby then chimed in on the conversation, and said he warned Hahn that "without a highway permit, he can't occupy it (the park)."

Frustrated, Hahn told Bollinger and Leiby their scrutiny won't change his plans for the park.

"I'll tell you right now, you aren't going to stop the recreation," Hahn said.

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.

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