Catasauqua Press

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Catasauqua Borough prepares for end-of-year events

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Catasauqua Borough’s end-of-the-year events took top priority at council’s workshop session Oct. 30. Mayor Barbara Schlegel set the date for the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony at the George Taylor House. The program will be held Dec. 3, starting with a crafts program 4 p.m. This year, Revolution Church offered its space for the craft session. Everything will be indoors and out of the weather.

The choir is expected to sing a medley of Christmas favorites about 5 p.m.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive 5:30 p.m.

Weather was great last year, and everyone is hoping for the same.

On Nov. 11, American Legion Post 215 will hold a veterans ceremony 11 a.m. at the post, 330 Second St.

After the veterans ceremony, Catasauqua Volunteer Fire Department will hold a 1 p.m. dedication of its fire memorial.

Council will be holding budget meetings Nov. 14 and 15.

In other action, council reviewed the ordinance that would allow a tasting room across from the George Taylor House. The ordinance was necessary because the borough did not have a provision for a tasting room that met standards set by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB). The new ordinance will meet the PLCB requirements but temper the rules somewhat to local standards.

“We set a size limit on the structure of 4,000 square feet. The owner would need to adjust floor space allocated to tasting room and production,” Solicitor Thomas Dinkelacker said. “The new ordinance requires one parking space for every 200 square feet.”

Tasting rooms are listed as a special exception, which means any proposal would require approval from council. Tasting rooms are allowed to sell their brewed specialties as well as craft brews from other Pennsylvania brewers. Craft beers brewed on site can be taken off the property to enjoy at another time, craft beers not brewed on site must be sampled in the tasting room.

Friends of George, an association dedicated to supporting the George Taylor House, met with the solicitor to outline by-laws and establish a nonprofit operating agreement between the association and the borough. Emily Zacharda recommended Carrie Ballek be appointed as director. Ballek has extensive experience in running nonprofit organizations similar to the George Taylor House.

Ballek is affiliated with the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), which has offered to help improve the structure’s historical prominence. There are roof leaks in the main structure. The historical dig site was not properly sealed. Some window rot has been detected. Ballek is recommending an architectural assessment of the property; the cost of which would be borne by the DAR.

Once the assessment is in hand, the association can begin its fundraising efforts with a list of targeted improvements. The DAR is working with its contacts to provide period furniture on loan to the George Taylor House.

Catasauqua Borough Public Works Director Jeff MacHose reported on extensive damage to Municipal Park.

“We have over $10,000 worth of damage,” he said.

According to MacHose, backboards on the basketball courts were taken down to repaint and refurbish. The courts were sprayed with obscene graffiti, the bathhouse was “gang tagged,” and other areas were vandalized. The borough will not put the basketball backboards back until the spring. MacHose recommended they not be put in place at all.

Police and MacHose are reviewing video of the incident to see if they can recognize any culprits. The borough is looking for any information on the vandalism.