Article By: Douglas Graves Special to the Bethlehem Press
Commissioner Dan Hartzell recently decided to temporarily withdraw a favored option for renovation of Cedarbrook nursing home from the agenda. The option will be considered at the next regular commissioners’ meeting, according to Commissioner Hartzell.
In spite of the absence of commissioners Thomas Creighton and Michael Schware, the vote could have been held, but Hartzell wanted to have a full board present for the vote. He said he didn’t want board members to feel legislation had been “rammed down their throats.”
He said the planning and discussion about Cedarbrook has been going on for “three and half years. We can get this done in the next two weeks.”
Option 6B, the option that Hartzell supports, would take four years to complete. The plan would expand on the existing site at the Allentown or South Whitehall campus and include 480 skilled nursing beds, according to the planning document released by the commissioners Aug. 23. It would also keep Fountain Hill’s facility. Hartzell said the plan would allow for a combination of new construction and renovation of existing faculties.
A potential new plan was introduced by Commissioner Amanda Holt, but Hartzell said he had been surprised to see it. He said he would consider Holt’s suggestions, but was inclined “to go with the pros” who developed the various options.
While both Holt’s plan and Option 6B end up with 480 skilled nursing beds, Holt said her plan would add a new building with 240 beds while keeping another 240 beds in an old but renovated building.
In an interview, Hartzell said a fifth vote is needed to approve his preferred option. He said a bipartisan group of four commissioners now support Option 6B and it is likely that a needed fifth vote from one of the other commissioners would also support the plan.
In other business, Lehigh County Commissioners appointed Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber CEO Frank Facchiano to the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority, replacing recently deceased John L. “Larry” Crampsie Jr. Facchiano’s term will expire Dec. 31, 2019.
Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority has a 15-member board of governors, according to its website. The authority is governed by the Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Act. LNAA owns and operates Lehigh Valley International Airport, the Queen City Airport, and Braden Airpark.