Council lauds career
Bethlehem City Council President Adam Waldron on April 7 gave Jane Persa a letter of commendation to mark her retirement after 40 years with city government.
“Whereas, this dedicated civil servant served as Recreation Director, her passion and commitment to the Parks and Recreation Department led to countless initiatives including redeveloping the Earl E. Schaffer Ice Rink, introducing a Splash Park at Yosko Park, building a world class skate plaza and developing the Greenway rails-to-trails park.
Persa started in 1975 as playground instructor and junior leader then went up the ranks and retired as the Recreation Director.
Council approved three mayoral appointments: Valerie McLendon to the Bethlehem Housing Authority; Dr. Christopher Alia to the Bethlehem Board of Health; and Seth Cornish to the Historic Conservation Commission.
Council approved a resolution in support of the Restore Pennsylvania Initiative. The initiative was sponsored by Councilman William Reynolds who said he had received a phone call from Governor Wolfe’s office “asking local governments to support the initiative.”
According to the draft resolution, the Restore Pennsylvania infrastructure initiative will invest $4.5 billion over the next four-years over the next four years in projects through out the state “to help move Pennsylvania forward in terms of technology, development, and infrastructure.”
Reynolds’ cover letter for the proposed legislation said that many policy goals in the Restore Pennsylvania Initiative share many goals with City of Bethlehem initiatives, for example: a Climate Action Plan, North Side 2070 ( an investment strategy for neighborhoods near the downtown commercial area), Connecting Bethlehem (a program to build on the existing trail network in and around Bethlehem by closing trail gaps, and by connecting Bethlehem’s trails to destinations outside of the City and to larger trail networks.), local infrastructure improvement, recreation opportunities, local flooding assistance and flood mitigation.
Getting preliminary approval from the Council were several items that will now be placed on the May 17 agenda. amending ordinances regarding “special events activity permits,” “streets and sidewalks,” and the “pedestrian mall.”
Also approved was Chief of Police Mark DiLuzio’s request to award a $263,000 contract to Communication System Integrators for security upgrades to the city hall building. Emily Schenkel, a representative of the contractor, accompanied DiLuzio in the presentation.
Director of Public Works and City Engineer Michael Alkhal present his plan to repave certain streets in Bethlehem. Among the streets slated for resurfacing are: Lehigh St. from Fahy Bridge to Main St.; Goepp St. from Mauch Chunk Rd. to Pembroke Rd.; (possibly) Johnston Dr. from Linden St. to Center St.
Council also gave its preliminary approval to ArtsQuest for its “Step Outdoors Lehigh Valley,” and “Taco Fest; to Holy Infancy Roman Catholic Church for “Portuguese Heritage Celebration and Multicultural Festival”; and to Mount Airy Neighborhood Association for its “West End Farmer’s Market.”
Council approved permits for: Molly’s Irish Grille and Sports Pub for its “South Side Arts and Music Festival”; Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce/Bethlehem Downtown Bethlehem Association for its “Tunes at Twilight” program; to Molly’s for its” Spring on the South Side program.”
Resident Arthur Talijan returned to the council asking for help curtailing a nuisance barking dog belonging to a neighbor. He had brought the problem to the Council at recent meeting and had left with assurance from the Chief of Police that the police would look into it.
This time, beside still having a barking dog problem, Talijan complained of getting ineffective police action and recited instances of an officer (“Why don’t you just move?”) and a 911-operator (“Don’t call again!”) being rude to him.
“I’m afraid to call my local police,” said Talijan.