The original plan for the Spring Township Board of Supervisors was to select the site for a community center and library at last week's business meeting.As an alternative however, the panel decided unanimously to commit to building a new municipal government campus on a township tract along Yerger Boulevard, near State Hill Road.
No cost estimate was discussed for the plan for the police headquarters, road-services operation and administrative offices, the library and community center.
Township supervisor and Road Master Jay W. Vaughn said this choice of locations contains ample space for a "more flexible" project design utilizing environmentally-friendly alternatives and allowing more efficient and safer traffic flow.
One example of this environmentally efficient option is to use the sewer effluent from the adjacent water treatment plant to heat and cool the campus, Vaughn said.
"In short, I think we have a chance to do something unique here," he added.
For some time, township officials expressed a desire to build a community center to provide additional parkland and recreational activities for residents of all ages.
Also, the current library in the Village Square Shopping Center needs more than its 3,200 square feet of space since Spring embraced the former West Lawn Borough, making it one of the largest municipalities in the county.
Officials said the township purchased land at 2940 and 3000 Penn Avenue for the library and recreational facilities but abandoned the idea when it was discovered there was insufficient parking area for both buildings.
In April, township architects introduced an $8.5 million scheme to build the center and library on Yerger Boulevard overlooking Shoener Lake.
During the discussion on May 27, Vaughn advised the board to consider moving the entire municipal operations to the Yerger site.
Originally the board purchased the nearby Utilities Employee Credit Union for $2.25 million to expand the already overcrowded Shillington Road Township Hall.
Board chairman John Dallas III said these buildings could be used to conduct township business until the new campus is completed.
The supervisors still have the responsibility to produce the campus design, implementing the building process and arranging the financing.
Supervisor Patti J. Smith also suggested the library board of directors launch a capital campaign and solicit sizable contribution from corporate sponsors and Vaughn, in turn, proposed a public and private sector partnership to secure the needed funds for the project.
In other business, Spring Township Director of Operations, Leon W. Mazurie, received permission to attend a conference on the Lafayette University Campus to discuss the "Right to Know Act" passed by the legislature last year.
"The format provides a variety of speakers relating their personal experiences dealing with local governments. I also plan to attend a seminar this fall sponsored by the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) explaining the bill's provisions and its possible effects on state and local governments throughout the Commonwealth." said Mazurie.
He believes these meetings will help Spring Township to abide by the ruling smoothly and efficiently.
"That's why I want to go." The particulars of the DCED meeting have not yet been established, including the date and venue, he added.