Parkesburg Borough will apply for a grant to install new sidewalks on part of First Avenue and, at its last regular meeting on Nov. 17, council announced that it has figured out a way to do so without charging the owners of the affected properties."At this point we're not anticipating any costs to the residents and businesses along that stretch," said Council President Dave Jones.
Jones said during the public hearing on the grant application held prior to the meeting that council recently learned that it can use liquid fuels funds to help pay the fifteen percent match it must put toward the project. He also said that the borough will apply for additional state funds to go toward the match which, according to the engineer's estimate of the project cost, will amount to $81,750.
Councilor Mel Keen said that she believes council could also do some trimming of the budget in order to come up with one-half to two-thirds of the match if needed. Council will need to revise the budget to reflect the project costs before it votes next month to approve it.
During council's Nov. 3 meeting, Council Vice President Tom Curtin announced that the Borough's Progress and Development Committee (which he chairs) wanted to move forward with the sidewalk aspect of the borough's 2003 revitalization plan. He had also asked council to approve spending $3000 to have the grant application written.
The plan, as it was presented during the hearing, includes new sidewalks with brick edging on the south side of First Avenue from South Gay to South Culvert streets, as well as trees and tree grates, and new streetlights. A handout put the total cost of the project at $545,000, or $375.86 per lineal foot.
Some property owners objected to the tree aspect of the plan, saying trees require maintenance and could present safety issues. One person noted that the trees would, at some point, cause the sidewalks to heave.
"Trees are pretty, but they're more pretty in your yard," said resident Bev Ely. She went on to say that they would become targets of vandals.
Another resident asked about the timing of the project, and Jones said the borough plans to complete the project in 2009 but that it was difficult to say exactly when since the grant application hasn't been submitted yet.
In other borough news: Borough Manager Jim Thomas said in his manager's report that there has been an increase in the number of homes in the borough which have been subject to foreclosure and that these properties were presenting maintenance, health and safety issues. He said he would be working with the borough solicitor and codes enforcement officer to come up with a new policy on how to handle the issue.
During her Streets Department report, Keen said that the recycling containers at borough hall will soon be permanently removed and that anyone caught dumping items there will be prosecuted. According to Keen, the borough will save a significant amount of money not having to empty the cardboard container because it costs $110 to empty and it usually had to be done three or four times a month.
Keen also noted that some residents had asked about putting cardboard out for recycling pickup when it was raining because they were worried about it getting wet, and she said that it is OK for the cardboard to get wet.
Parke Mansion LLC gave council another extension, until Jan. 19, for approval of its town house project to be located behind the Brandywine Quarry.
Ely said she was concerned about the number of kids crossing the railroad tracks at West Street, and said they won't listen to her when she tells them not to do it. Council informed her that she could call 911.
Ely also said that she was concerned that of residents in apartments on the south side of First Avenue are using the public trash cans to dispose of household trash. Thomas told her that the problem will be addressed in the borough's new ordinance.