East Penn Press

Sunday, June 24, 2018

UPPER MILFORD TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS

Thursday, July 27, 2017 by christopher dryfoos Special to The Press in Local News

It is back to the drawing board for park plans

Members of Upper Milford Township’s Board of Supervisors expressed concerns regarding proposed plans for a park on the Kohler property during their meeting July 20. Members from the development team were on hand to answer the supervisors regarding the issues.

Supervisor Robert Sentner was especially vocal, noting “the park looked nothing like this” on the original design submitted. The initial plans of the park presented it in a trapezoidal shape; the most recent plan presented sees some sections of the park’s lower end cut away, with small sections jutting downward. Sentner went so far as to say the current version of the park was “gerrymandered” to fulfill the 2.5 acre requirement. The park’s plans were restructured due to stormwater, retention and drip irrigation requirements.

“I’d rather see a nice usable park there in a configuration that people would like than a mishmash of spread out, unusable pieces just to say we got 2.5 acres,” Manager Daniel DeLong said.

Sentner also criticized the proposed trail, which, at one point, would veer near a parking lot five feet below.

“From a pedestrian walking on the path or someone with their five-year-old kid with training wheels on...there’s no way that works [for me],” Sentner said.

The supervisors discussed possible ways the park could be reconfigured, such as allocating the narrow strips to the irrigation area and rounding out the drop in the pathway to become a slope.

“I think we can easily shift that pathway over a little and smooth [the edge],” Scott McMackin, vice president of Cower Associates engineering, said.

The board requested a revised plan for the park by July 28.

In other business, the board approved an ordinance entering the township into a cable franchise agreement with Service Electric Cable TV. The ordinance allows Service Electric to provide cable services in Upper Milford. RCN was contacted but declined entering a contract; however, RCN currently provides Internet services to the Fields of Indian Creek, a senior community in the township.

“We see big problems for the township for allowing them to dig and do things in the township without any agreements,” Tim Himmelwright, director of communications with Service Electric, said. By not locking RCN into a franchise agreement, the company doesn’t need to follow state and local regulations. Himmelwright surmised RCN could possibly be providing Fields of Indian Creek with cable as well as Internet and phone services.

“They don’t have to make sure their people are safe,” Himmelwright said. ”They don’t have to make sure their people have learned the equipment they’re working with.”

Himmelwright stated RCN had been thrown out from other townships – including Upper Macungie – after cutting underground wires.

“At least at this point yet, there is no proof sitting around the table that they are yet providing cable TV services,” Township Solicitor Marc Fisher said. The supervisors agreed to monitor the issue.

In other news, the board approved a recommendation from the pension committee to lower the earnings assumption from 7.25 percent to 7 percent in order to meet pension obligations. The township’s actuary will be notified to lower the assumption.

“In the long run it will ensure that we don’t end up in a real bind like Allentown and other places that are scrambling how to pay for their pensions,” George DeVault said. Sentner abstained from the vote.

The board also passed a motion to advertise the old township building for lease once more.

The Vera Cruz Community Association is working on its annual homecoming celebration. This year’s festival celebrates both fire companies, both of whom are celebrating their 75th anniversaries. The homecoming will be held Aug. 20.