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Council planning to improve recreation at area parks

Published March 05. 2013 05:02PM

Weissport Council has applied for Community Block Development Grant (CBDG) funds to improve recreational activities for the residents.

Tim Rehrig, council member, said that the application has been submitted for $13,000. The grant, if approved, would purchase two picnic tables at a cost of $2,715, four tons of tire mulch at a cost of $3,011 and $4,629 to build a 16 by 24 foot wood and metal pavilion at the borough playground and $2,642 to add a ceiling and lights at the pavilion at the Bridge Street park.

Rehrig said that volunteers would be taking care of the labor end of seeing the projects completed.

Dana Brubaker, secretary, said that council will not know whether the funding is approved until later this year.

Council members also continued the discussion of the UGI permanent gas line easement.

UGI wants to install an underground gas line underneath a section of the tennis courts.

Council members are concerned that the easement will mean that the use of property above the gas line cannot never change, such as changing the tennis courts into a basketball court at a future date.

Attorney Michael Greek suggested that the language in the agreement be changed to reflect council's concerns.

Brubaker said that language in the agreement should reflect that the location of the easement impairs future use of the property there should be compensation.

Arland Moyer, council member, said that the going rate for permanent easements is about $3 to $5 a foot. He noted that UGI may agree to resurface the property with top coat.

"You better watch because you might be dealing with conflict of interest," said Rehrig. "You are on council and work there."

Moyer said, "There is no conflict of interest. I simply asked my boss what is the going rate of compensation for permanent easements."

Greek advised council to rely on the engineer David Horst to continue negotiations.

Weissport also discussed the temporary easement requested from PennDOT that will be necessary during the rehabilitation of the McCall bridge.

"We need to revise the language to reflect that should any borough sidewalks, levee, gates or other property be damaged during construction that it is has to be replaced.

Rehrig said that there will lots of heavy equipment in Weissport when the workers replace the pier.

Council members were disappointed that PennDOT engineers did not come to the meeting to address the issue of a temporary traffic light at the intersection of Franklin and Bridge streets.

"They're not here," said Sue Pywar, council member. "Our residents need a way to get out of town. Traffic is heavy now at times and without a light, we will never be able to leave."

Moyer also suggested that Weissport apply for a grant to replace old water mains on White Street.

Moyer said that a grant was the only way the aging lines can be replaced because Lehighton Water Authority has no funds set aside to replace the lines.

Greek also gave his opinion about the PennDOT easement at the Lehigh Canal Park. Greek said that each of the communities agree that the $1,000 compensation for the easement should go to the Lehigh Canal Park Commission,

"Whatever the Canal Commission and most of them want to do is OK with us," said Greek.

PennDOT has agreed to pay for the temporary easement to use a section of the Lehigh Canal Park towpath as a staging area when repairs are made to the McCall bridge.

Council also discussed the issue of providing handicapped parking signs on borough streets at the request of residents.

In the past, council had the signs installed for a fee. Greek advised council to do an inventory and see where signs are located and whether those locations are needed since many council members believe that most of the signs that are standing are placed at homes of residents who have since passed away.

"If you want residents to pay for signs then they need to be the only person using the space," said Greek. "Otherwise anyone can use the space and it is not fair to make residents pay if anyone can park there."

Greek suggested that before a handicapped space is approved, there should be an investigation as to how close to their home is a handicapped sign, have off street parking, whether or not they drive, have a car and a handicapped license plate.

Council also discussed a violation at 188 Bridge Street. The structure is failing and must be repaired within six months.

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