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Pennsburg Officials Voice Concerns over Proposed Middle School
Written by Larry Roeder Editor

        At their Jan. 3 meeting, Pennsburg officials discussed their questions and concerns regarding a new middle school that is proposed to be built along Montgomery Avenue, across the street from the borough in Upper Hanover Township.

        There were questions but no solid answers, as officials and members of the audience expressed frustration over conflicting responses, depending on the official body questioned.

        Josh Hagadorn of Gilmore and Associates, the borough engineer, recently received a copy of the project plans but was waiting to perform a "full blown" review of them to see if there had been any changes.

        Issues raised included the traffic impact on Montgomery Avenue and nearby streets and the safety of students walking to school in areas where there is no sidewalk.  It was reported that a traffic study could be available at the borough's next meeting.

        Mayor Vicki Lightcap raised the issue of a soil report that indicated the bedrock could require blasting or the use of hydraulic hammers as part of the construction at the proposed site.

        Concerns of the impact or damage that could result from blasting near borough homes and infrastructure were raised – including questions about who would monitor and pay for any damage. 

        Of special concern was the nearby sewage treatment plant of the Upper Montgomery Joint Authority, which Pennsburg shares with East Greenville and Red Hill.

        Speculation rose about the contractor's responsibility for damages, when Council Vice-President Bruce Lord asked "How is that guaranteed?"

        Council unanimously authorized Lightcap to attend the Act 34 meeting scheduled for Jan. 4 to officially represent and speak for the borough and present their questions and concerns.

        Prior to the meeting, Lightcap swore in 12 volunteer fire police members from the Pennsburg Fire Company.  In recognition of "First Responders Appreciation Week" in Pennsylvania, Lightcap and Council President Kristopher Kirkwood acknowledged and thanked all first responders who serve the borough.

        In other business, Lightcap announced that the first "pre-mediation" meeting between East Greenville and Pennsburg officials was held last month and that a second pre-mediation meeting will be scheduled.

        Last September, East Greenville officials announced that they would be leaving the Upper Perk Police Commission in March of 2017, basically dissolving the regional police force. Since then, both boroughs have been working on alternative plans for their own police departments.

        In late September, then East Greenville Solicitor Michelle Forsell suggested to officials the possibility of mediation to work on and hopefully solve the issues causing the rift.  Both boroughs agreed in early October.

        In December, East Greenville officials agreed to extend their exit date from the regional police department to June 1, 2017.  This could allow the mediation process more time to play out.

        However, since the mediation was suggested, only one pre-mediation meeting has occurred with a second one still to be scheduled.  Pre-mediation meetings were suggested by officials to establish rules for the actual mediation meetings.

        The actual mediation process has still not begun.






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