Borough preps for more Front St. work
Public works Director Jeff MacHose discussed plans for waterline improvements on Front Street at Catasauqua Borough Council’s workshop session Feb. 26. Improvements to the waterlines are slated to go in before Front Street is resurfaced. The resurfacing project is anticipated in 2019.
Borough Manager Eugene Goldfeder reported that waterline improvements along the Pine Street Bridge required easement releases. The borough has obtained two of the three releases.
MacHose disagreed, saying the waterlines are routed alongside the bridge, and easements are not required. According to him, releases are needed for construction easements but not for right-of-way easements.
Goldfeder said he will get clarification.
Local business owners complained about the severe falloff in business while UGI replaced gas lines along Front Street. MacHose has pledged to make the renovation of waterlines less strenuous. Blondie’s reported its business dropped by half.
In a related matter, three business owners along Front Street appealed to UGI for relief from their business losses. Becky Gillespie led the business owners’ charge into UGI.
At the borough council workshop meeting, council President Vincent Smith asked the solicitor to investigate a provision, discovered by Gillespie and enacted by former Gov. Tom Corbett, that paid a stipend to municipalities to alleviate business interruptions caused by utility work.
In other construction news, despite the signs stating a Feb. 12 start of construction on Race Street, the bridge work over Catasauqua Creek is delayed. Those in attendance at a first briefing on the project were told of environmental considerations — spawning fish — requiring a start in April.
The bridge work is now slated to start in July and last for 23 weeks.
Police Chief Douglas Kish said eastbound traffic will flow normally on Race Street during the construction. Westbound traffic will be detoured.
At council’s regular meeting March 5, Councilwoman Christine Weaver will introduce a ticketing program to refine the borough’s process of fining homeowners for various code infractions. Under the existing program, homeowners get cited for infractions and need to go before the magisterial district judge. Under the new program, the homeowner pays a ticket to the borough.
Goldfeder announced the borough is taking applications for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). All requests for CDBG funding need to be completed in April. Council determines what projects are candidates. The current list includes a roof replacement for the George Taylor House, wall repairs at the borough pool and streetlight transition to LEDs.
Councilman Eugene Schlegel asked council to allow the old East End fire hose cart to be on display in the lobby of the municipal building. Council agreed.