Catasauqua Press

Friday, August 23, 2019

Attend next Catty council meeting

Thursday, November 22, 2012 by The Press in Opinion

To the Editor:

The Borough of Catasauqua has been in need for some time.

It has been in need of fire, police, fire/police and emergency management stations along with a borough hall. These services are currently housed in divided, substandard and cramped quarters – some even in regular residential garages.

Economic development, downtown revitalization and responsible development of the former FLSmidth site on Front Street are other issues that need resolution as well.

The borough has clearly identified these needs, and the current proposal calling for the municipal and residential development of the FLSmidth site meets them all. The plan calls for the borough to partner with a developer to purchase the site, adaptively reuse a building on the site to house our emergency and municipal services and for a private developer to develop the residential portion.

The site soil and water have been tested for contaminants and meet the requirements for the proposed development. Because of the existing building's adaptive reuse for the borough services, it will cost less to complete than a new construction project. The remediated site is offered to the borough at a reasonable price.

The borough manager projects we would receive $884,000 in one-time developers fees and $135,000 per year in annual revenue. The project will also spur growth and improvements in our downtown. The proposed $7 million project will cost the average property owner about $160 per year or about .44 cents per day – less if you figure in the above referenced revenue stream.

The planning and zoning committee and borough council as a whole have spent the last three plus years reviewing the completed testing and research reports that substantiate the value of the project. As of 2011, the project was supported by the state, Lehigh County, Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Initiative, Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, Renew Lehigh Valley and the Catasauqua Planning Commission.

Some of your elected officials do not support this plan, but offer no real, comprehensive proposals or counter proposals to date.

That means if this project does not move forward, we have no viable solutions for even one of these issues.

In my opinion, a "no" vote without a reasonable alternative compounds the problem and is irresponsible.

There are no winners if this project doesn't come to fruition; there are only losers, which include the volunteer firefighters, the police officers, the volunteer fire/police and emergency management staff, the borough and its residents, the county and the school district. Everybody loses, while nothing is gained. And after 30 plus years, we will still be no closer to having a new fire station.

Borough council has an opportunity to take a responsible, positive, giant step forward for the benefit and sustainability of Catasauqua.

Please plan to attend the Monday, Nov. 26, or the Monday, Dec. 3, council meeting at 7 p.m. to have your thoughts on the projects heard.

Let's keep the momentum and the vision.

Vincent Smith

Catasauqua Borough Council Planning & Zoning Committee Chairman