Whitehall-Coplay Press

Monday, December 10, 2018

Borough needs new plan for Saylor Park

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Project bids are over budget; $100,000 grant will expire at end of year

The critical subject of discussion at Coplay Borough Council’s workshop session Oct. 2 was the Saylor Park project. The park, envisioned as a crowning achievement for the borough’s 150-year celebration, has a little trouble brewing.

The borough worked hard to gather a collection of grants to support the project. Township Engineer Daniel Witczak sent the project out for bid, but the results were over budget. Councilman Stephen Burker is looking for in-kind services that could be provided. The services would be performed by competent tradesmen but would be performed pro bono or at less-than-going rates.

The problem is that an existing $100,000 grant is due to expire at the end of the year.

“We must do whatever we need to do to keep that grant,” Councilman Charles Sodl said.

Coplay Borough Public Works Director Paul Boyle has been in contact with the funding agencies.

“They need a plan on how we are going to spend the money,” he said. “If we put the plan in place, then we will have a chance to get the extension.”

Witczak and Boyle will work together on moving forward with a plan that will get an extension of the grant. Grants have a time restriction requiring that they be used in a certain period of time. There are plenty of worthy projects.

The plan and the potential for an extension are sure to be subjects of the next council meeting.

In other business, Sodl reported the borough’s new firetruck is on schedule for delivery in October. The fire department will have an open house for the public to see the new unit.

“This is a safety issue. We spent a half-million dollars. Taxpayers have a right to see what they bought, and we should make sure the event is well advertised,” he said.

Burker is in talks with the Suburban Family North YMCA in Catasauqua to manage the borough pool in 2019. The Y manages the pool in Catasauqua.

“Our pool is a lot smaller, so there are cost considerations that we need to address with them,” Burker said.

The Y program takes the borough’s existing budget and brings Y-associated events to the pool to spark interest while increasing attendance. More details need to be ironed out.

“The most important thing is that we can’t wait for this at the last minute. We need to be doing it now. We waited too long this year, and then we ran into management problems. We almost ran out of available lifeguards. The Y can do a better job managing the pool than the borough. Now, we need to see if we can get the costs where they need to be,” Burker said after the meeting.

As reported last month, the borough had an offer on its property at 1 Bridge St. Council was polled, and all were in favor of keeping the property for the time-being. The developer replied that he was not interested in buying the property but rather wanted to use the property to store dumpsters and use the location as a transfer station. In exchange for a low-rent lease, he would reduce the borough’s dumping fees by 50 percent, a savings of $50,000 annually. After reviewing the full context of the offer, council reaffirmed its position that there are better uses for the property.

It is expected that road improvements on Front Street will be discussed at the next meeting. Neither the borough nor Coplay Whitehall Sewer Authority is satisfied with the end result.

The borough is also expected to approve a contract to improve its website.

Councilwoman Janet Eisenhauer reported the library has more than 1,500 registered guests, and the website has nearly 4,000 followers.

Kimberly Bachman began her tenure as the borough’s secretary/treasurer.