Whitehall-Coplay Press

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Burker: ‘Neighbors helping neighbors’

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Coplay welcomed Catty residents to pool

At the Coplay Borough Council workshop meeting July 2, Councilman Stephen Burker explained how Coplay Borough opened Coplay Parkway Pool to Catasauqua Borough residents when Catasauqua was dealing with a leak at its pool.

“As soon as we were aware that the pool was closed in Catasauqua, I called our pool manager, Tiffany Benson, and gave her authorization to give Coplay’s lowest rate to Catasauqua season pass holders. It was a hot and humid weekend,” he said.

“This is a simple philosophy of neighbors helping neighbors,” Burker said.

The Catasauqua pool reopened July 5.

Developer Dave Sherman addressed council on the issue of recreational fees. Sherman is developing six multiunit apartment blocks along the Ironton Rail Trail, just north of the borough property. In his land development plan, Sherman agreed to pay all recreational fees at the start of the project. Since that commitment, he has had a change of heart.

“We are getting permission from utility companies to pay their initial fees as we start a building. We would like to have the same agreement with the borough for recreational fees,” he said.

Councilman Charles Sodl is against the proposal and has been against the idea since it was initially proposed months ago.

Sodl’s premise is that breaking the fees down by building is not a viable strategy for the borough. As Sodl explained, the roughly $97,000 fee could be coupled with some matching grants and be used to make improvements that would be available to tenants as the buildings are brought on line.

“Getting $15,000 when the first building is erected doesn’t really help us out. We can’t purchase anything with that money,” he said.

The other concern is if the project is not completed or leased up as fast as the developer envisions.

“We have one project that has been under development for decades. A delay on your project takes the recreation money well into the future, and it doesn’t do us much good that far into the future,” Sodl said.

Council was expected to vote on the proposal at the July 9 meeting; the consensus is to take the money upfront. According to Sherman, paying the lump sum might delay the start of construction.

In a related matter, summer programs sponsored by Suburban North Family YMCA for Coplay are canceled. According to Burker, there were few sign-ups. The YMCA did not inform the borough of the cancellations. A quick check last week showed no one at the reserved pavilions.

Also at the meeting, Councilwoman Janet Eisenhauer informed council that RJ Hall was selected as the new administrator for the police pension and nonuniformed pension plans. The company replaces Morgan Stanley. RJ Hall also administers to 18 smaller municipalities.

Eisenhower informed the board that Da Vinci Science Center representatives will be at Coplay Public Library noon-2 p.m. Aug. 17. Also at the library is the lunar landing 50th anniversary party noon-2 p.m. July 20. Original footage of the moon landing will be shown. After the movie will be moon cookie decorating and moonwalking lessons.