Whitehall-Coplay Press

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Chamber presents teaming idea to council

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Outreach program available to help promote businesses, local attractions

Jessica O’Donnell, of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, spoke to members of Coplay Borough Council Jan. 9 about the advantages of teaming with the Chamber.

According to O’Donnell, the Chamber is making an outreach program available to smaller communities to promote local businesses and local attractions.

“The Chamber is the seventh largest in the country,” she said. “We have many different programs to promote businesses and local functions. And we have funds to help communities like Coplay promote the borough.”

In fact, O’Donnell said, a Chamber mixer called “Party with a Purpose” and scheduled for Jan. 17 at Samuel Owens Restaurant will benefit the borough’s food pantry.

“These are the type of events that we want to participate with the borough on,” she said.

Councilman Charles Sodl pointed out that the borough’s premier event is Community Days.

“We want to have a booth at the program and present some of the member benefits,” O’Donnell said.

The Chamber has some control over Main Street grants that can be used for improvements. Council was supportive of the Chamber’s effort and agreed to explore how the borough and the Chamber can work together.

As part of its reorganization activity, council reappointed Peter Mercadante to the zoning hearing board. Council reaffirmed the borough’s commitment to Daniel Witczak, of Acela Engineering, as township engineer.

Ronald Helman, the borough’s code enforcement officer, expressed concern over progress on violations levied against a property owned by Rick White near Tapler Drive. In October 2017, White was given 22 property violations. He protested the action to council.

Several council members and the building inspector went back to White’s property and reduced the number of violations to six. Many of the violations were reduced or eliminated because they were the result of flooding in the area. Witczak presented a proposal to better control stormwater runoff in the area.

In October, White was given 90 days to make necessary corrections. According to Helman, no action has been taken by the property owner. Helman will review his findings with council.

Witczak reported the proposed MS4 project for stormwater management was approved.

He indicated the Saylor Park rejuvenation project is on schedule with a projected dedication before summer of this year.

Council also passed a new ordinance that establishes a ticketing program to reduce property blight and maintenance issues. Under the new program, violations for issues like high grass and excess garbage and trash may warrant homeowners a ticket. There is a time frame to make corrections before a citation is issued. Habitual offenders can go right to citations.

“Right now, the process is cumbersome and homeowners can force delays. We want to get troublesome areas cleaned up quickly, not spend time in legal processes,” council President Louis Bodish said.