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Coaldale seeks to resolve faulty alert siren issue

Published May 12. 2010 05:00PM

Coaldale Borough came one step closer to resolving the dilemma of what to do about it's 30-year old alert siren.

Borough Fire Chief Richard Marek on Tuesday agreed to get together with Councilman Andrew Girard, who is head of the Fire and Ambulance Committee, to visit a New England Valley company, Martin's Electric, to see what they could do to fix the siren. They plan to take the siren's schematics with them so the experts at Martins can study it to see how it should be fixed. The siren, installed in 1970s by the federal government as a civil defense measure, was designed to emit a variety of alerts for different emergencies. However, it has for some time apparently been stuck on a shrill "attack" warning sound.

Marek said he described the siren to Martin's, which said it was "state of the art" for its time.

Last month, council agreed to study how much it would cost to repair or replace the siren. Several residents have complained about its piercing noise. Council discussed the siren at a Feb. 23 council meeting after Mayor Richard Corkery called it a nuisance and suggested it be silenced.

That triggered strong opposition from Marek, who said the siren is needed to alert his firefighters to emergencies. Not all of them have pagers, which cost about $500 each, he has said.

In other matters Tuesday, council agreed to start an ambitious road repair project by fixing a portion of Phillips Street.

Also, council learned from grant writer Daniel Yelito that the borough may qualify for a $300,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant, to be used for buildings and/or equipment. The borough would have to ante up a 25 percent match, however.

Yelito suggested it do that by selling old equipment. The deadline to apply is June 1; the grant would be awarded in September. Council agreed the borough could use a new salt shed, a front-end loader, a roller and a backhoe.

Solicitor Michael S. Greek urged caution, reminding council that old equipment doesn't sell for much and that the 25 percent match is not in the borough's budget.

In other grant news, C.H.O.S.E. officer Angela Krapf said she has spoken with Jason Boris of the Eastern Schuylkill Recreation Commission about a $20,000 grant to provide equipment for the playground near the Coaldale Complex. The grant would require a $3,000 match. the grant application can't be submitted until Jan. 2011, so Krapf is getting a good head start.

Also on Tuesday, council asks that anyone with interesting information about the borough contact secretary Louise Lill to see about it being posted on a website for the borough. Lill can be reached at 570-645-6310.

People should also contact Lill about any malfunctioning street lights.

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