|PennDOT's Heather Heeter|
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.