Catasauqua Press

Friday, October 20, 2017

Mayor: no support for two-way Front St.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Before the Catasauqua Borough Council workshop meeting Monday, the council held a special meeting about Ordinance 1346. Borough Manager Eugene Goldfeder explained the situation in his opening remarks.

“At the last regular meeting, we passed an ordinance that postponed turning Front Street into a two-way street until June 15,” he said. “The delay was predicated on information we had about the ability of everyone to meet our expected standards. The mayor has the right to sign the ordinance, veto it or return it to us unsigned.”

Under procedural rules, the mayor has the right to consider the ordinance until the next scheduled meeting.

“That meeting would be April 4,” explained Goldfeder.

The ordinance has changed the start date of the two-way traffic from its originally scheduled date of April 1 to June 15.

“The problem is that someone could legitimately turn right on Front Street [making it two way] anytime between April 1 and April 4,” Goldfeder said.

The special meeting was called to prevent what could be a mischievous interpretation.

At that point in the meeting, Mayor Barbara Schlegel returned the ordinance to council. It was unsigned.

The mayor explained that she did not veto the measure but does not support the project.

“With all the delays, I just don’t think I can see how this is all going to work,” she said after the meeting.

In a related matter, Goldfeder asked permission to make application for Community Development Block Grants. One of the projects for funding is the rubble on the corner of Front and Willow streets.

The rubble came during the collapse of two older brick buildings during a fire several months ago.

“It is embarrassing that we cannot get this cleaned up,” Goldfeder said. “We have talked to several contractors and the price continues to rise.”

The borough proposes to use the space as a parking facility that will replace some of the parking lost when Front Street is converted to two-way traffic.

Goldfeder explained his revised plan. The borough would hire local contractors to take the rubble down to ground level and then cover the area with gravel. A full job would require contractors to take out the rubble in the basement areas of the two buildings and pack new soil in the area to make it sturdy. Under the revised plan, once the rubble was down to street level, Goldfeder proposes to use CDBG money to remove the rest of the debris and turn the area into a parking lot.

“If we use the CDBG money for the parking lot, we would not be able to make any money from it,” he said. “We need to have the fees set so that we only covered our maintenance costs.”

Councilman Eugene Schlegel offered a suggestion that the borough consider selling the brick.

“There are people looking for the old bricks,” he said. “Let them come in and take them.”

The idea is a good one, but Goldfeder wanted to control access to the site. The option remains open.