Bethlehem Press

Friday, March 22, 2019

Park vandals a tricky subject

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 by TRACY RICE Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

First order of business for the Feb. 21 council meeting was discussion from the floor. A resident of Stanley Avenue and a Fountain Hill park employee, Justin wanted to inquire about the basketball rims being reinstated at the park. “I have kids coming up to me daily, asking me when the rims will be put up. I have to tell the kids I don’t know, and that’s why I’m here tonight.”

Council President Larry Rapp explained to Justin that it was not an easy decision to make to have the rims removed. There was a lot of vandalism and trash throughout the park. It was something that was happening on a nightly basis and the rims were removed on a trial basis.

Council later okayed putting the rims back up and the park was immediately trashed again, so down they came.

“I understand where you are coming from, but why should the Fountain Hill kids be punished for something that they aren’t doing?” asked Justin. He has been working with kids there to help patrol the park when it is open. Justin said, “I would really like to work together to get the rims back up at the park.”

Council members do not see things changing in the near future, but Rapp said he would send the issue back to the Recreation Committee for review. “That is the best I can do for now,” said Rapp.

The 2018 pool agreement with the YMCA has been approved. They will move forward with the YMCA managing the pool again. The pool staff is always looking for dependable people to serve as cashiers. Mayor Carolee Gifford has submitted a formal proposal for a Community Day to council for review. She said she had a “very enthusiastic response to participate from St. Luke’s hospital.” Council member Anna Marie Jordan has also said the library will participate and the Bookmobile can be scheduled to come. Any businesses who would like to take part are asked please contact Mayor Gifford. There is also a Business Alliance meeting Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at borough hall.

President Rapp said he had a meeting with state representatives and engineers to go over the Broadway Avenue project. “There are grants that we can apply for,” said Rapp. He is asking council if they would like him to move forward with the project. Council discussed this at length and agreed that it would be worth having the engineering done. The approximate cost of the engineering study is $15,000-$20,000 and the cost would be shared 80/20, and the engineers would take the 20 percent from the study as their fees. There is already a project scheduled for 2018-2019 to resurface Broadway and that project will cost $630,000 which is being covered by grants. It will not happen overnight but council would like to try and get the grant fast tracked so it can coincide with the resurfacing project.

The engineers survey would be well worth the money, because it is not something that needs to be redone, will carry through the process to the next steps in applying for the grant. “The regional director is willing to work with us on this project,” said Rapp. Council voted to approve the motion and it passed with flying colors. The next meeting is scheduled for March 5 at 7 p.m.