EMMAUS BOROUGH COUNCIL
Resident Josh Schmidt spoke before the Emmaus Borough Council at the May 21 meeting regarding the aging equipment and safety concerns at Lions Park.
Schmidt said he took his 3-year-old son to the park on Sunday night and had to leave due to missing equipment such as support beams, shards of glass and overall old equipment which was unsafe for his son to play on.
Borough Manager Shane Pepe said council is aware of the equipment issues at the park and the equipment in general “doesn’t meet modern codes.”
Back at the Feb. 20 council meeting, the borough said it was in the process of applying for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant. If awarded, this grant would help support the borough in conducting various studies to evaluate the borough’s nine parks and trail systems. This would also help council determine a long-term plan as well as allowing them to apply for a construction grant for the suggested projects.
Pepe noted at that meeting the grant would award the borough an estimated $90,000, with the borough being responsible for half.
The borough applied for the grant in April, and will not be notified until December on the award. The study itself will take about two years to complete, which means the earliest construction would begin to take place is 2021.
Pepe said their “guesstimate” for playground equipment in Lions Park alone would cost $70,000. The equipment has to be specific materials, special grade and must adhere to certain rules which is why the cost is so high.
“So there the debate is,” Pepe said. “Do we budget funds to try to tear out and replace it [playground equipment] now while we’re going through the process of the study, or do we tear it out and let it sit until we get the money.”
Pepe said this is something council will have to contemplate come budget season. He did note, however, that there are some “immanent safety issues” and certain equipment is going to have to be removed regardless.
In other business, ordinance 1178 passed its first reading which pertains to school zones in the borough.
Pepe said the ordinance is establishing what is essentially already there, just with the addition of a school zone on Macungie Avenue.
The speed limit will be set at 15 mph during school days and anyone violating these established provisions will be sentenced to pay a fine upon conviction.
The following streets will have an established school zone 8 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 4 p.m.: Elm Street to North Sixth Street, North Street to North Sixth Street, Harrison Street to North Third Street, Seem Street to North Third Street and East Minor Street to the center of 33 East Minor St.
The following streets will have an established school zone 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 3 p.m.: North Street to the intersection of North 10th Street and Cedar Crest Boulevard and Macungie Avenue to the southwest apex of Pine Street and Macungie Avenue.
The borough will be replacing the old school zone signs with new signs come August.
When asked if the borough will be getting flashing signs, Pepe said they applied for a grant a few years back and were quoted with $15,000 a sign, totaling $144,000 for all five schools. As of now, the borough will be sticking with the newly revamped signage going up in August.
Mayor Lee Ann Gilbert declared the week of May 20 to May 26 both Emergency Medical Week and National Public Works Week in the borough.