Board moves forward with emergency services site
Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution to authorize the predesign phase of a new emergency services building at its regular meeting June 11.
The new building will be built on the township municipal complex, behind the existing municipal building on MacArthur Road. An old garage and several outbuildings will be removed.
D’Huy Engineering, of Bethlehem, will be preparing the predesign.
“My only question is how soon is a shovel going to fly,” board Vice President Philip Ginder asked.
First proposed in 2014, the building will likely be two stories with a community meeting room. Offices for police officers will be on the first floor, and offices for detectives and administration will be on the second floor. The new building could be connected with the existing building through a buffer containing a gym.
Since it is only in the predesign phase, there are no estimates of square footage or cost.
Mayor Michael Harakal Jr. lauded the start of the project, which he called a team effort.
The township police department has been operating from a building that originally was the home of the now-defunct HMS (Hokendauqua, Mickleys, Stiles) Ambulance Corps. The building, which has several levels, is not efficient and does not meet current safety standards.
In other business, Ryan Holohan was sworn in as a new Whitehall Township police officer, bringing the number of full-time officers to 48.
The board also conditionally approved a subdivision at 1942 Schadt Ave. that comprises three lots. One lot includes a brick home that was part of the original farm, and the other two lots have new construction single homes. A request to waive curbing and sidewalk requirements in front of the properties was denied 6-1.
Commissioners approved the township pool rates for the summer season.
The township has three pools — Cementon, Jefferson (Fullerton) and Parkview (Hokendauqua). Admission rates are $5 for residents and $10 for nonresidents. Those under age 6 and age 62 and older swim for free. The township also added twilight rates of $2 for residents and $5 for nonresidents after 5 p.m. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Commissioner Jeffrey Warren reported that as of the 2017 U.S. Census, Whitehall Township has 27,564 residents, surpassing the City of Easton, which has 27,109 residents. He suggested, because of the population increase, the township ask to have a voting seat on Lehigh Valley Planning Commission.
Harakal, who proposed a new anti-littering initiative at a previous workshop meeting, said it has already gotten a lot of support from the community. The program, prompted by concerns from Whitehall High School students, will have signs reading “Member Whitehall Litter Control Team” posted around the township to encourage retailers to work with the township on reducing litter.
The next board of commissioners meeting will be 7 p.m. July 9.