Commission raises stink over trash in East Penn park
Sharon Stanley/Special to the Times News A trash barrel at East Penn Township's Riverview Park overflows, one of only a handful left after the township removed the majority of them about a month ago.
Overflowing garbage in East Penn Township's Riverview Park was the main focus of the township's parks system meeting Tuesday night.
"You've turned it into a trash park without even thinking about the consequences," said former East Penn Township Parks Commission Chairman Bill Schwab, with several trash receptacles now overflowing with rotting, stinking garbage, nearby.
Commission members cited two particular incidents that seemed to cause the dilemma, one two years ago in which the township began requiring volunteers to start signing waivers and another that the borough had recently removed 30 trash cans from the park.
Members said volunteers who had regularly cleaned up in the past, such as a local Cub Scout Pack, a high school club and a disc golf club, have said they will no longer clean the park because the trash is now so overwhelming.
Commission members acknowledged that the waiver requirement came about because of a township insurance request. The trash can removal was because of recent, uncontrolled household dumping at the park.
Members seemed most frustrated that these changes were made without what they perceived to be a valid attempt by the supervisors to communicate with them.
Schwab said members don't even know where the trash cans are now located.
In addition to the park's aesthetics and overall cleanliness, current Commission Chairman Hal Resh said he also worries bears may soon show up.
It was at the May 6 township supervisors meeting that Resh had cited a lack of communication between the supervisors and the commission and asked that at least one board member attend Tuesday's meeting. Both Township Vice Chairman Jacob Nothstein and Supervisor Deanna Cunfer attended.
Nothstein said the supervisors have tried in the past to make efforts to better communicate with the commission members, such as holding a special meeting last July, but said that no one from the commission had shown up.
Schwab said he was out of town, and Resh said he had not been aware of it.
The commission gave the supervisors three suggestions from a list of 14 it said it hopes the board will consider.
The first was that the ongoing household trash problem be addressed, the second that an ordinance requiring the commission to prepare a budget be reviewed, and the third that the commission perhaps become an independent, operating entity similar to an authority.
Later, Resh asked members which months they could each attend upcoming supervisors meetings in order to keep the lines of communication open.