By Douglas W. Wesner
The Borough Council learned recently that the state Department of Conservation and National Resources awarded Birdsboro an $11,000 Mini Comprehensive Park & Recreation grant and a $75,000 Park and Rehabilitation and Development grant, as well.
Rec. Board Chairman and Councilwoman Nancy Kauffman said the mini-grant is for the development of a long-range parks and recreation plan within the borough, possibly incorporating the county's trail system, also.
After the state grants are issued, she said, the municipality must complete the project within five years.
The larger subsidy will help finance an "ambitious" project to renovate and enhance, with state-of-the-art equipment, the Main Bird Park between Water Street and Hay Creek, Kauffman said, speculating the funds were awarded mostly due to the recent flood damage there.
The project should be completed in about two years. However, the original DCNR request was for nearly $190,000, coupled with matching local funds, carries a price tag of $394,000, she added.
"The recreation board and council ", admitted Kauffman "will need to rehash the project and decide which renovations are to be cut from the original plan, or whether to seek additional revenue sources."
None of the funds are to be used for current summer recreation programs, additional equipment at the other borough facilities, or for staff wages.
In other matters, the Rec. Board issued a notice of three playground leader vacancies for the 2005 summer season and is scheduling interviews. Those interested should contact Borough Hall at 610-582-6030.
Also, Kauffman told council she spoke with Donald Lerch of the Allentown office of Penn DOT recently, concerning the closed bridges on the section of state Route 82 in Robeson Township.
The inquiry was made on behalf of the Hay Creek Watershed Association and for her own knowledge and not as a member of council, she said also.
The damaged crossings are scheduled for removal by the end of this summer, Lerch said. Also, a new plan for the area will need to be re-examined and any "re-opening project" will depend heavily on the wishes of the surrounding municipalities, he added.
Kauffman said later, the fact Birdsboro and Robeson Township have already voted to support the complete closing of the 2.2 mile stretch of road in question, may mean the bridge openings are less likely to be funded.
In addition, council voted 6-0 to enact separate ordinances affecting the two borough street lights owned by Met Ed Corporation. Act 5-22 involves changing the bulb strength and florescence to save maintenance and operational costs at the intersection of N. Walnut Street, said Borough Manager Randall P. Miller.
Act 5-23 does the same at the First Street location, as well.