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Edinger honored for 20 years service

Monday, September 11, 2017 by Bernie O’Hare Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

At their Sept. 4 meeting, Kenn Edinger was honored by Bethlehem Township Commissioners for 20 years of service on the planning commission. That’s an unpaid job for volunteers. He’s leaving with a plaque. But as fellow Planning Commissioner Don Wright joked, no check.

The resolution honoring Edinger, which passed unanimously, cited his “keen insight and important township historical knowledge.”

Unlike so many other Planning Commission members, who might be engineers or subcontractors looking for work from a developer, there was never a potential conflict of interest with Edinger. “You gotta’ look out for the people,” he could be heard saying before the meeting, still discussing a proposed development.

He pulled no punches. “Lou, you got a lot of problems here,” he once said of a Lou Pektor project. He bashed initial plans at a Chrin commercial development because “[e]very job in this development is a minimum wage job.” His most famous quote, which came during the Southmont debate, “Only God and the owner can knock down a historic farmhouse.”

Edinger knows a lot about Bethlehem Township because that’s where he grew up. His father owned and operated Greenview Nursery. Ken worked at Butztown Garage, and claims he was “railroaded” 20 years ago into the planning commission. It was wither that or the Board of Commissioners.

Howard Kutzler noted that, when he first came to the township in 1999, it was Edinger who showed him the ropes. “He was the guy to go to,” said Kutzler.

Edinger demonstrated some of his historical knowledge just before the meeting started. He said he remembered when Freemansburg Avenue between Bethlehem and Easton was just a collection of farm fields. Barns along that desolate road, which always looked a lot like airplane hangars, looked that way because that’s what they were. At one time, there was a small airport and even a sky diving school at the site.

All that came to an end when a skydiver, in a freak accident, plunged to his death in the vicinity of what now is called the Vineyards at Wagner Farms.

In other business, commissioners relented and authorized the purchase of a $23,000 leaf collector for public works. They had previously turned down a request for two of them because they were never included in the budget.

Public Works Director Richard “Butch” Grube explained that he had sought approval of two leaf collectors in last year’s budget, and his request was approved with the understanding that the township would first try to get a grant. Unfortunately, no such grants were available

Grube noted he was able to purchase a tractor for $25,000 less than budgeted, and would like to use the saved money to acquire at least one collector. He noted there are over 200 cul de sacs and dead ends at which these small leaf collectors are used.

Commissioners agreed to authorize he purchase.

“I still could use two,” said Grube after his request was approved.

“See you next year,” answered President Mike Hudak.