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Palmerton officials favor new fire station

Published October 05. 2009 02:55PM

The Palmerton Fire Department could eventually have a new headquarters.

Borough council unanimously agreed on Thursday to apply for a grant to be used toward the construction of a new fire station building.

Borough manager Rodger Danielson said the borough would like to build a new firehouse on property along Mauch Chunk Road.

Danielson said the facility would cost about $975,000 to build, which would be covered under the grant.

"It's a wish situation," Danielson said. "We'd like to construct a firehouse to house all of our equipment in one place."

However, he cautioned that the borough applied for the grant last year but was turned down.

In June, council announced that the Palmerton Fire Co. No. 1 would cease with the swearing in of West End Fire Co. No. 2.

As a result, all of the assets of Palmerton Fire Co. No. 1 were dissolved.

Council agreed in February to consolidate the fire companies on or before Jan. 1, 2010.

Also on Thursday, council granted conditional approval to the Joe Bennett subdivision plan.

Council's approval came with the stipulation that Bennett must finalize a list of concerns the borough engineer has with the plan.

Bennett plans to construct a retail store and parking area at 545 Delaware Ave.

Last month, the Carbon County Planning Commission voted for conditional plan rejection after there were 23 conditions that had to be met before the county could sign off on the plan.

Bennett previously said the proposed business would sell retail store products, but declined to share any other information on his plan.

He did say he plans to hire local contractors to perform the work on the project.

In an unrelated matter, council agreed to increase the fee schedule for non-residents of the borough for use of borough facilities.

Use of the facility room will now cost non-residents $10 an hour, up from the prior $7.50 rate, while use of the gym will cost $15, double that of the prior $7.50 fee.

In addition, there will be a $50 charge for use of the bandstand for two hours, and a $12 fee for use of the Rifle Range. Previously, the borough didn't charge a fee for either use.

Council rationed that borough residents couldn't reserve a facility without a fee if the primary user is a non-resident. If the use applicant is a group, and if 50 percent or more of the group are residents, the group would be considered a resident group.

Also, a fee could be assessed if any facility is left in an unacceptable condition after the use period concludes. This would apply to residents and non-residents alike.

Finally, the fees collected are to be used for the "Concert in the Park" series to promote the continuation of this fine tradition.

The fee schedule will go into effect immediately, except for the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit, which will go into effect as of Oct. 1. All prior approvals are exempt from the new fee schedule.

In other business, council:

• Announced 69 applications were received for the new public works employee position. The list has since been narrowed down to between eight to 10 candidates. Interviews could be held as early as next week.

• Announced the Palmerton Halloween Parade will be held at 4 p.m. Oct. 18, and asked for assistance from other local fire police.

• Announced Trick-or-Treat night would be held in the borough from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 28.

• Agreed to advertise for a Firefighters Relief Association ordinance and another that would make an amendment to an existing firefighters ordinance.

• Approved Dynamite Woodworking's request to close Second Street for the Haunting of the Waldorf Hotel every Friday and Saturday in October from 6-10 p.m.

• Announced Camp Ichthus Ministries of Palmerton made improvements to the Appalachian Trail Hikers Corridors in the bottom floor of the borough building.

• Granted Fire Chief Joe Kercsmar permission to take two fire trucks to a Fire Prevention Program at Penn's Peak on Oct. 6.

• Agreed to send a 1994 Chevy pickup truck and an old Dayton drill press to the fall municipal public auction.

• Denied a handicapped parking request for Rose Ritter at 480 Franklin Avenue.

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