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Water line project postponed

Published July 29. 2011 05:02PM

A project to replace a water line in a section of Palmerton has been postponed.

Work to replace the water line in the 200 and 300 blocks of Lehigh Avenue, and pave the 200-400 blocks of Lehigh, likely won't start until next spring, borough council learned on Thursday.

Borough Manager Rodger Danielson said the borough still plans to use its allotment of Community Development Block Grant funds toward the project, which was originally scheduled to begin by late-summer, early fall.

"Due to complexities in the design, and with everything going on at the [wastewater] treatment plant, we're going to defray the bulk of that project until next year," Danielson said. "It will not occur this fall as we previously hoped."

Danielson said the decision to delay the project was necessary.

"Part of the design is to allow us to maintain the water service to everybody while we make the changeover to the new line," he said. "We didn't want to rush the design."

In May, Danielson said the project would likely result in hardships, and that several public information sessions would be needed to discuss it.

Council was told In February by Judy Borger, Carbon County director of planning and development, that the borough could receive $115,640 in CDBG funds. Of that, she said $98,000 will be used toward the project, while the other $17,640 will go toward administrative costs.

However, Borger cautioned at that time that the amount of CDBG funds the borough receives could change due to an overall reduction in CDBG funding. The borough is among five entitlement communities that will receive CDBG funding, she said.

Danielson previously said the borough designated its CDBG funds in 2009 to pave the 200-400 blocks of Lehigh. Since then, he said the borough received another $31,000 that was set aside to make the areas handicapped accessible.

Also on Thursday, council agreed, on a 6-0 vote, with Councilman Jason Behler absent, to apply for a grant that may be available through the state to install an audible signal at the traffic light located at Third and Delaware Avenue.

Danielson noted that several residents contacted the office of state Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) on behalf of residents who are vision impaired to see if the borough could receive the grant, which is believed to be $2,982.

The audible signal would be added to the visual signal already in place at the intersection, Danielson said.

In an unrelated matter, Councilman Richard Nothstein suggested the borough look to reimplement a civic program for high school seniors.

Nothstein said the students could campaign to hold several posts - such as a seat on borough council or the school board - to gain experience in those positions.

"I think it would be a great way to get the kids interested," Nothstein said. "They would campaign; it's a fun thing."

Nothstein said such a program existed in the borough many years ago. While no action was taken, the majority of council agreed such a program was worth checking into.

Also, Councilman Chris Olivia said he received several calls from residents concerned with people who park their vehicles in alleyways throughout the borough.

Olivia said the residents were fearful that firetrucks and/or ambulances wouldn't be able to get through the alleyways, especially where vehicles park on both sides.

Danielson said that while he understood the concern, the matter needs to be handed over to the borough police chief.

In the meantime, Olivia cautioned residents to not block the alleyways with their vehicles.

In other business, council:

- Announced a bid opening will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23, for the sale of the vacant property at 910 Edgemont Avenue.

- Agreed to advertise for additional Requests for Proposals for pension management for the borough's Police Pension Fund.

- Agreed to renew the Federal Surplus Purchase agreement.

- Approved a handicapped parking request for Jeffrey Shupp at 494 Franklin Avenue.

- Granted the borough fire chief permission to take several engines to the state parade on Wednesday, Aug. 24 at Lake Harmony, as well as to the annual Labor Day parade in Pen Argyl on Monday, Sept. 5.

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