Catasauqua Press

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Borough starting sidewalk project

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Catasauqua council approves grant funding for Front Street improvements

At Catasauqua Borough Council’s regular meeting Sept. 3, borough Manager Stephen Travers indicated he would talk to business owners along two blocks of Front Street regarding the borough’s sidewalk project.

As background, the borough looked to improve the sidewalks across from the new municipal building. The sidewalks and curbing along Front Street are sinking. Anticipated road improvements would bring the roadway higher, rendering the curbs useless.

Borough Engineer Ron Gawlik designed a sidewalk with an estimated cost of $400,000. The borough’s consultant obtained a grant for $200,000. The grant approval was delayed for months.

To get grant funding, the project had to be bid on Pennsylvania’s electronic bid system. Only bidders authorized by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation were allowed to bid.

The low bid on the project was $600,000. Council approved the measure to get the grant.

The program will require business owners to make some improvements, but the extent of the commitment from business owners is unknown.

In a related matter, the Iron Works project, billed as the most significant project in Catasauqua, is nearing an agreement. All negotiations with the developer have been held behind closed doors. Council will receive a private draft of the agreement to be discussed at the next workshop meeting.

In other action, council did agree to enter into an intermunicipal agreement with Hanover Township (Lehigh County), North Catasauqua Borough and East Allen Township to produce a regional comprehensive plan, the River Central Comprehensive Plan.

Comprehensive plans are normally reviewed on 10-year cycles. Catasauqua and North Catasauqua are due. East Allen Township made a commitment to regional planning even though it only recently completed its comprehensive plan.

The regional plan will put more control of planning in the hands of residents and local government rather than with the Municipal Planning Code. The MPC requires municipalities have a zone for every type of business. Regional planning spreads land use over several communities. The communities must all agree to align their zoning to the comprehensive plan.

The cost to each participant is around $20,000, about a third of the projected cost for the borough to prepare a plan on its own.

Council voted to keep traffic restrictions in place for another month while bridge construction continues on Race Street.

Council passed an ordinance restricting traffic on Poplar and South 10th streets to local deliveries. Permanent signs will be posted.