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Pennsburg Moves Forward with Code Blue Shelter Plans
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            By one vote, Pennsburg Council decided to move forward with a proposal to allow the creation of a Code Blue shelter in the borough. The members voted 3-2 to direct Solicitor Daniel I. Sager to craft an ordinance regulating the facility and an agreement between the municipality, the Open Link and the Pennsburg UCC Church.

            Richard De Angelis and Adam Krisko voted against the motion. Wayne and Diane Stevens did not attend the meeting.

            "This is not a done deal by any stretch of the imagination," Council President Patrick Suter said.

            Member Mike Mensch made the motion directing the solicitor to draft both documents. He said council has several months to iron out the details.

            "Let's start now," Mensch said before the vote.

            Last month, Marianne Lynch – the Open Link's new executive director – appeared before council to ask about starting the center on a vacant property at the church, located at 775 Main St. On Tuesday, she returned with Frank Falk, head of the church's property committee, and multiple members of the Upper Perk Homelessness Coalition to continue the conversation.

            "We're not trying to fix [homelessness]," Suter said. "We're trying to save lives. I firmly believe we need to do something. We need to put in place as many controls as possible."

            Lynch explained that the shelter would have 10 beds and would only be available for men. She said the doors would open at 8 p.m. and close 12 hours later only during nights with excessively cold temperatures as designated by Montgomery County.

            "It's not going to be a homeless hotel," Mayor Charles Shagg said.

            Prior to the vote, Krisko expressed his opposition to the proposal. Citing a list of concerns presented by Sager as reasons not to allow it, he argued that allowing the shelter would not be in the best interest of the community.

            "It's going to take a lot of persuasion to get me to vote yes," Krisko said.

            De Angelis and Krisko both expressed concerns that the center would attract people from outside the Upper Perkiomen Valley community.

Lynch told them that the facility would serve those already living here.

            Council voted to approve the terms of an interim loan with QNB for municipal renovations. Administrative Manager Lisa Hiltz said the amount of the loan is $358,790.

            The loan includes an interest rate of 4.75 percent, according to Hiltz. She said during the meeting that the rate increased from 4.55 percent the last time the members considered a similar motion.

            Last month, council voted to award a $1.89 million contract to Hollenbach Construction, of Douglass Township, for the borough's civic building garage renovation project. The base bid totals $1.817 million.

            The award includes four alternatives. Engineer John Rundy said previously that construction will commence at a date to be determined by the borough and the contractor.

            In March, the Upper Perk Police Department responded to 623 total incidents and calls. The information, presented by Lt. Matthew Boaman, included 224 for public services, 119 traffic details and 93 vehicle investigations.

            The officers issued 88 traffic citations and 39 warnings. They made six criminal arrests, issued three non-traffic citations, two parking tickets or warnings and responded to two non-reportable accidents. The department also responded to three false alarm calls at businesses.

            Upper Perk police handled four incidents of public drunkenness/disorderly conduct, three thefts, two burglaries/ attempted burglaries, and one each DUI, forgery/fraud/identity theft, sex offense, vandalism/ criminal mischief and a weapons offense/PICS violation, according to information collected by Chief Joe Adam.






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