Catasauqua Press

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Feedback sought on trail initiative

Wednesday, November 20, 2019 by PAUL FOX Special to The Press in Local News

N. Catty residents voice concerns; council president says input is crucial

Two borough residents appeared before North Catasauqua Borough Council at the meeting Nov. 18 to voice their concerns about the proposed Catasauqua Area Trail and Transit Initiative and the impact it could have on their properties.

Currently in its earliest stages of development, CATTI would see multiple pedestrian and bike trails built through Catasauqua and North Catasauqua boroughs to connect the three schools and link up with the D&L trailhead by the river.

The project was recently chosen as a catalyst project by Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, which will assist the boroughs in the planning and funding of the trails. So far, LVPC has put forth a preliminary map with potential routes for the trails but needs more community input before anything is finalized.

One of the residents, Ernie Keller, explained LVPC’s current map has the trail taking over a paper street that runs through part of his property on Grove Street. If it were to follow this path, the trail would essentially cut Keller’s backyard in half.

Pete Paone, council president, heard Keller’s concerns and explained he does not intend to have the trail initiative invade anyone’s property.

“The goal of this is to help the community, not to impose anything on anyone,” Paone said.

Paone explained this kind of feedback is exactly what the project needs at this stage as LVPC determines how the trails can best serve the boroughs. Knowing the paper street would be an issue, the borough has already proposed alternative routes for the trail in that area.

Paone expressed the importance of community feedback and encourages all residents to visit the borough website at northcatasauqua.org to see the CATTI project overview.

Following the sudden death of Police Chief Kim Moyer in July, it was all hands on deck for the officers of North Catasauqua Police Department. As a result, nearly the entire force has reached the end of the year without using any of its allotted vacation time.

After reviewing the police contract, borough council carried a motion to allow all officers’ remaining vacation time from this year to roll over until June 30, 2020, giving them a much-deserved break after this difficult summer.

In his report to council, Fire Chief Shawn McGinley announced former junior councilperson Brad Panto has just completed his training to become a North Catasauqua firefighter.

Borough council went into executive session to discuss options for a new security system to bring borough hall up to date technologically. Out of three options, council decided on a system from Altronics Security, which was the only one that filled all of its requirements. At a cost of roughly $60,000, council decided to finance the new system with a five-year loan.

Any borrowing of money by the borough requires an ordinance, so council carried a motion to advertise the decision to take the loan so the ordinance can be made.

Solicitor Steven Goudsouzian reported the owner of 408 Buttonwood St. has offered to turn the property over to the borough. However, the borough would also inherit the property’s mortgage and lien. At the solicitor’s recommendation, council decided to wait until the property goes up for sheriff’s auction and pursue it at a lower price.

Council members took a moment during the meeting to swear in two new junior council members from Catasauqua High School — Taylor Pattison and Rebecca James.

Councilman Billy Duch congratulated Mark Gioielli, Michele Hazzard and Jessica Cope on their victories in the Nov. 5 borough council election.

North Catasauqua Betterment Committee will be installing six new light-up snowflake decorations around the borough this holiday season, bringing the total count up to 150. Borough residents who would like to purchase a snowflake for $325 can pick up a form at borough hall, 1066 Fourth St.

North Catasauqua Recreation Committee’s tree-lighting event at William J. Albert Memorial Park, 701 Grove St., is set for 6 p.m. Dec. 1. The rain date will be Dec. 2 at the same time.