Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Freemansburg Avenue Widening Coming Soon

PennDOT's Heather Heeter
A plan to widen Freemansburg Avenue, along with its Route 33 intersection, is ready to start. The good news is that there will be no lane closures, except between 9 AM and 3 PM, and even then, there will always be one lane open in each direction. The bad news is that it will go on for three years.

PennDOT Senior Project Manager Heather Heeter advised Commissioners of what is being planned for the state highway at their August 19 meeting. The state highway department is coordinating its construction with widening being done by St. Luke's Hospital at its Anderson campus, as well as developer KRE, which is planning a 837-home village.

President Paul Weiss thanked PennDOT for keeping Commissioners abreast of the widening project.

In other business, Commissioners approved a loan package with Lafayette Ambassador Bank that will enable the Township to refinance $9.15 million in existing debt and borrow an additional $850,000 for sewer projects at an interest rate of just 2.35%. Solicitor Leo DeVito stated that the Township will be able to refinance an additional $4 million next year. This lower interest rate will save the Township $845,000 over the five year life of the loan, according to Finance Director Andrew Freda.

Commissioners also discussed plans to repair the roof at the Archibald Johnston mansion, located in Housenick Park. Commissioner Michael Hudak balked at the $250,000 price tag, as well as the timing. Although a $2 million trust has been established by the Janet Housenick Estate for park maintenance, Hudak is concerned that Trustees will refuse to reimburse the cost of repair. "I'm not going to take it out of our general fund and then hope we get reimbursed for this," he said, adding that he though the friends of Housenick Park would do some fundraising.

Commissioner Tom Nolan countered that if the Township applied to place the mansion on the National Register, grant monies would likely become available. "We can't let the mansion sit idle another five years," he argued.    

President Paul Weiss agreed that something has to be done to preserve the building. "If we don't do this,there may not be a building to go to."

Weiss suggested that he and Tom Nolan reach out to the Friends of Housenick Park to determine the best course of action, and Hudak agreed.

Vandalism at Township parks was another concern brought to Commissioners' attention by Manager Howard Kutzler. Bathroom stalls, the roof of the large pavilion, basketball rims, tennis courts and even the walking trails are being damaged at the large park by the community center. Someone even attempted to start a fire on the large pavilion's roof.

Kutzler suggested asking Community Center staff to patrol the park until it closes at 10 PM. Hudak added that lights should remain on after hours to discourage vandals.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hudak can't wait till the Housenick Trust goes bust.
They look like they are willing to spend their money down on that house while that land goes to pot.
Meanwhile the surrounding land gets sold for apartments
for commuters to New Jersey.
What the hell is going on with this? Isn't anybody with a brain involved in this?

Anonymous said...

Does the Township have traffic impact fees and is any part of this project being shared by the Township (intersection upgrades, propety acquistions, etc)? Traffic impact fees should be imposed on all new development so that municipalites have a little skin in the game for the when they approve new development.

Are sidewalks part of this project (one side or both)or just curbing?

Anonymous said...

After reading this again more closely, it does appear there is some cost being borne by developers. Traffic impact fees should be the norm for all municipalities where the development adds measurable traffic to public roads.

Anonymous said...

Did not the previous posters read BO's story... the developers are paying for this work and there are some grants from the State and Federal Government. Sounds like a lot of work in lieu of an impact fee to me.

Anonymous said...

Fuck the land. Save the old house at any cost.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hudak seems unpleasant. It is easy to discuss repairs with the trust and have their pledge put in writing.

Anonymous said...

TRUST SHOULDN'T SPEND ONE$ THAT ISN'T MATCHED.
How dumb can it get?

Anonymous said...

Mr Hudak wants the whole project to fail and I'll bet he gets his way.

Anonymous said...

That house will eat up every penny of the Trusts money and more. What's more important at a time of very limited funds, the house or the park itself?

Anonymous said...

Where is the sale of the piece of land fronting the road at? Any idea BOH?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have only rumors. Nothing concrete.

Anonymous said...

So the Township police are busy writing nonsense traffic tickets instead of cruising the park.

Anonymous said...

The commissioners (NOT including Hudak) need to communicate their wishes about fundraising to the volunteers who are interested in helping. Be direct and maybe they can come up with contractors willing to donate time or materials, as well as actual fundraising ideas. The township still maintains control and keeps Hudak happy.

Anonymous said...

Why is Mr Hudack so unpleasant regarding this beautiful park? Can someone explain this to me please?