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Last Cabins At Akenac To Be Razed

Last Cabins At Akenac To Be Razed
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, September 5, 2019

DINGMANS FERRY -- Months of discussion and debate at many Delaware Township Board of Supervisors meetings about the fate of eight cabins at Akenac Park will be concluded by November when the final three are razed and removed.
The board, at its regular bi-monthly meeting last week, approved the $7,500 low bid of Davidheiser Construction Services to do the demolition and removal work between Oct. 2 and 30. It will be done in conjunction with the Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company, which will do some training exercises on the three cabins before they are taken down, much like what the fire company did with the other five before they were removed in the the fall last year. The supervisors approved the training at a previous
meeting.

The work will be done after the Harvestfest held at the park on Sept. 28, so visitors will not be at risk.

The board also approved $92,3556 to low bidder H&P Construction Inc. to replace the township municipal building roof.

Meanwhile, the municipal garage roof coating project is being put on hold for a new round of bidding because there were only two bids unsealed -- one for a company that is strictly a supplier of materials for roofing and the other from KLA Roofing Construction LLC that the supervisors rejected as too high at $59,577.
"We'll see what happens with the new bids. The cost may wind up so high that we might as well spend a little more to have the municipal garage roof replaced rather than coasted," township Administrator Krista Predmore said afterward. It was a sentiment also expressed by township engineer Jon Tresslar in a communication to the township.
Tresslar also pointed out that H&P Construction is submitting an alternate bid for the municipal roof replacement to include snow guards. They are listed under two costs, one at $12,887 that wrap around the building just above the eve and the other for $5,316 that would be staggered around two rows above the eve.
"Since the roof replacement project was awarded on Aug. 18, a notice to proceed will be issued to the contractor on Aug. 30 and the substantial completion deadline is Oct. 31," Predmore said.
Also at the meeting, the board unanimously approved the township's Public Works to pave the Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps entrance to Park Road for $1,000, which will come out of the budget line item for the township ambulance service.
It also approved budget workshop dates of Sept. 18, Oct. 2 and 30 and the revised dates of Nov. 6 and 20. A final workshop on Dec. 11 is expected to end with a budget ratification vote.
The board also approved the $200 fee for township officials to participate in the annual Convention of Township Officials of Pike County that will be held 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Best Western Inn at Hunt's Landing.
It also approved the request of the Pocono Environmental Education Center to use the township quarry on Oct. 26 and 27 and Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. to noon for a college geology class. The supervisors had said at previous meetings while discussing the idea that PEEC should be advised to alert the participants to be alert to any truck traffic when leaving their cars in the parking area to go on the quarry.
Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson reminded the gathering that the 2019 Senior Citizens Expo will take place 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Dingmans Fire Department. State representatives Rosemary Brown and Mike Peifer again head the organizing of the event that will have many vendors on hand to speak about resources available to seniors.
Supervisors also discussed Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's Myck Road Report of Findings. "It's an excellent report," said Henderson, but he pointed out that the recommendations lead to a high price tag.
Also discussed during the workshop was the Log & Twig Road bridge repairs. Supervisor Jane Neufeld said that Tresslar indicated the work was "not extremely urgent. "

Supervisors shared the feeling the work can wait until next year. "There's not a lot of repairs. It's a low budget project," Henderson said.
Supervisors said during Public Comment, when asked, that Samaritan EMS had contacted the township by email because it is
considering servicing Pike County with Advanced Life Support and Basic Life Support services. The Pike Planning Commission had reported in a meeting early last week that Samaritan had contacted municipalities around the county but did not specify which ones.

Akenac Park To Host AAA, United Way Events

Akenac Park To Host AAA, United Way Events
by Jeremy Van Duyne
The Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, August 1, 2019

DINGMANS FERRY – Akenac Park is a popular spot for local residents to relax and have fun in the outdoors.  It also includes places such as the Delaware Township Library and Dingmans Ferry Delaware Township Historical Society.  Now the park will have the special privilege of holding two new events in the coming weeks.

Last Wednesday saw supervisors in Delaware Township hold a regular meeting to discuss and vote on matters related to the town.  Among the matters on the agenda were granting permits for two events to be held in the park within the coming weeks.

One of the events was for The Pike County Area Agency on Aging (AAA0.  They are a public non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping senior citizens who live throughout Pike County.  Hoping to overall improve their quality of life, the agency assists senior residents with meals, social events, recreation, and in some cases home personal care.

The agency wanted to use Akenac Park for their annual picnic.  This organization has used the park in the past for this event, but hasn’t done so in quite a number of years.  The supervisors ultimately approved their request and will allow the agency to hold their picnic in Akenac Park from 8am to 2pm.

The supervisors also voted to allow Pike county United Way to hold their annual Day of Caring event in the park.  The United Way is among the biggest non-profit organizations in America, focusing on helping communities in the United States through their partnerships with schools, local governments and other organizations.

The Day of Caring is one of the organization’s biggest events.  The event is used to highlight just how much can be done through volunteerism and community service.  Akenac Park will host the event on Sept. 7 of this year.  The event will be held from 9am to 2pm on that day.

Meanwhile, supervisors accepted the resignation of a seasonal Akenac Park lifeguard, and also approved the hiring a new one for the pay rate of $10 an hour.  During the workshop portion of the meeting, the supervisors tabled a vote on a demo of a new park cabin.

Information on these two upcoming events as well as other events being held in the park will be made available on the Delaware Township website for Akenac Park.  The park is open from 8am to 7pm daily except Tuesday.

Band OK'd, but No Church Collection Drive

Band Ok'd, but No Church Collection Drive
The Pike County Dispatch, Thursday, July 18, 2019
By Wayne Witkowski

DINGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township supervisors, at last week's board meeting, encountered a rare municipal issue of a "church and state" conflict amid their lengthy discussion surrounding a Music in the Park performance at Akenac Park for next month.
They approved unanimously a motion for the band Official Representatives to perform on Aug. 25.
But they voted down, in a 2-1 vote, a motion for an accompanying collection drive at the event for juice boxes, snacks, water and other items by Long Meadow Chapel's Youth Ministry TAG Program. Supervisors Jane Neufeld and Rick Koehler voted against the collection and board Chairman John Henderson cast the lone "yes" vote.
It is believed that the band has an affiliation with the chapel.
"I'm not comfortable with the township hosting an event that speaks for religions," Neufeld said.
The Music in the Park event goes through the Recreation Committee in order to go to the supervisors for approval.
Township Solicitor Tom Farley raised the question of whether this becomes an issue of the separation of church and state, which goes back to the days the American Constitution was written.
"It's a township event and should not have any religious connotations to it," Neufeld said.
"You can take the Recreation Board out of it and then the township has nothing to do with it (the concert)," Farley offered.
The board decided to keep the event as a Recreation Committee endeavor and then put it to vote.
"That's why we have three board members with three votes -- each has an opinion," said Henderson after the vote was finalized.
The board approved the Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company training on three condemned Akenac Park cabins for venting drills on Aug. 20 and 27 and a final training in early October.
Rec Committee member Steve Tarquini at the meeting called it a "regrettable decision" and recommended an Akenac Park site plan review.
The board decided at a meeting last month to remove the buildings because of high costs of replacing badly weathered roofs and other expenses. They felt the costs overshadowed the few times the cabins would be used for township events, particularly its Christmas event.
Tarquini disagreed, saying, "There are a lot of ideas the (Recreation) committee would like to use the cabins for."
Neufeld countered, "The request is a little vague. Some things are prioritized. To put the (repair) money into that idea, it can be fit into many others."
Supervisors approved the motion, citing the need for most of the training work and removal to be done before the township Harvest Festival at the park in September.
In other motions, the board agreed for the Rec Committee to change its meeting from the second Tuesday of each month to the second Thursday. The park is closed on Tuesdays and it was felt that Thursday meetings would give the committee better public exposure.
Line painting, at a cost of $15,283.04, was approved for six roads in the township. Half of the funding comes off Monroe Loan Share Account funds from casino gaming revenue and the other half through the township's General Fund, which may be drawn from the state Liquid Fuels fund to the township. The roads include Doolan, Park, Chestnut Ridge, Log & Twig, Spencer, Emery and Myck roads.
Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Department Chief Sean Hughes gave his quarterly report, listing 2,097 "man hours" and 88 alarms, including 25 percent for fire calls, 24 percent for motor vehicle mishaps and 24 percent for false alarms. Hughes said three volunteers have put in more than 600 hours of training over a three-month period.
The board approved, at a cost of $247, a motion to send three officers from the township fire department to attend a Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors Strategic Planning Training session on Aug. 9 in Lehigh County. They include fire company President Ed Hammond, Assistant Chief Mike Cairns and Lieutenant Mike Moffa.
It also authorized township Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker to attend an Aug,. 28 workshop called Pipeline Security through the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium in Manheim, with reimbursement for mileage, meals and hotel costs.
During the workshop prior to the regular meeting, Francesco DeMascola of the Penn State Extension Advisory Council representing Pike County spoke about the extension's work statewide and in the county. He said his presentation brings attention to priorities in the area, including tick-borne diseases, the opioid epidemic, water quality and natural resources that include the invasive species (emerald ash borer and gypsy moths), youth leadership through the 4-H program, healthy eating and nutrition, economic development, emergency preparedness, outreach and connecting to the community with the extension programs, farm-to-table initiatives and small business development. He also presented a schedule of webinars and two recently held workshops in Pike County.

Penn State Extension of Pike County is at 514 Broad St. in Milford and can be reached at (570) 296-3400. The website for the Penn State Extension is extension.psu.edu.

"The more the word gets out, the better it is," DeMascola said afterward. "There are programs coming out that will impact some businesses. A lot of people get interest in things that were not brought to their attention (before)."
Also at the workshop, the board discussed the township's receipt of an email from Pennsylvania Department of Transportation regarding its PennDOT Connects program, which establishes meetings with municipalities to discuss PennDOT road work and road plans and ideas in that township. "If we have concerns, do we need a meeting," asked Neufeld. She said afterward, "We've decided not to schedule a meeting because everything seems to be moving along."

Liquor License Approved for Dingmans Plaza Weis

Liquor License Approved for Dingmans Plaza Weis
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, July 4, 2019

DNGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township supervisors, in a 2-1 vote after a public hearing, approved the request of Weis Markets for its transfer of a restaurant liquor license from the state Liquor Control Board for its planned store opening in 2020 at Dingmans Plaza on Route 739.
Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson voted against the request, expressing concern to attorney Weis representatives attorney Ellen Freeman and Senior Manager of Architecture Tim Snyder during the hearing about customers who would purchase and then drink beer at the store and then drive on local roads.

The Weis representatives did not specify where the license, auctioned to the LCB, came from but they had told the supervisors it previously covered another business in Pike County.
The supermarket next awaits a final approval by the LCB.
"In the road study you had with PennDOT, did you ask if they have had many drunk driving fatalities," asked Henderson, saying that there have been some in the past. The representatives said that was not questioned.
In her presentation during the 20-minute hearing, Freeman said there is a 3,307-square foot liquor department and seating area option for customers to eat food purchased from the store's salad bar or pre-heated chicken section, for example, and to drink beer or wine purchased within the 47,623-square foot store. She said there would be two or three employees licensed by the state to sell alcohol who would limit on-site consumption of alcohol to two standard 12-ounce cans of beer. Wine likewise will have restricted sales and consumption on-site.
"We now have another business that is selling liquor in the township," said Henderson in a tone of regret during discussion after a motion was presented to vote on the request.
Henderson said, "If approved, it's another alcohol-related possible problem that we don't need, especially with alcohol-related fatalities on Route 739."
"Two beers is not that bad," Supervisor Rick Koehler commented.
During the hearing, Freeman said, "There is a very low percentage of sales for on-site consumption (at Weis Stores)," explaining that the business model would follow the on-site bistros at four Monroe County locations opened between 2006 and 2014. "We want to bring that model to our new store."
During the hearing, Delaware Township Planning Commission Chairman Ron Hough, who said he has more than 30 years of supermarket work experience that includes management, pressed Freeman and Snyder to confirm that patrons would eat food and drink alcohol on site and if that area would be located in the supermarket itself. Snyder affirmed both questions.
Freeman said Weis has implemented a new policy of audits twice a year on the liquor department of each store to make sure it is compliant with state Liquor Control Board policies.
As for the Delaware Plaza construction project, Snyder said groundbreaking preparation would begin soon to determine the scope of work for a December groundbreaking. "We're looking to open in July," said Snyder, who said the project appears to be "routine" without any obstacles.
"It (the project) is zone appropriate with no impact on adjacent properties in the neighborhood," Snyder said.
Also at the meeting, the board approved advertising for bids for a new roof for the municipal building.
It approved a request by township Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker to move the county's Emergency Management Trailer donated to the township onto a private property where he can examine and work on it. Township Alternate Attorney Robert Bernathy, sitting in for law partner and regular township Attorney Tom Farley, questioned insurance coverage for the trailer while work was being done. He was told by the supervisors it's covered under Pike County insurance.
The board also approved sending Beodeker to a Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors Strategic Planning for Fire Service in Operations meeting on Aug. 9 at Upper Macungie Township at a total township cost of $69. Chris Kimble was appointed alternate to the Pike County Road Task Force.
During the workshop, considerable time was spent talking about the removal of three other cabins in Akenac Park expected to take place from mid-September into early October. It was discussed whether the fire department can run training exercises at each of them, one at a time, as it did when six other cabins that were removed last fall.
Roadmaster Vince Flatt expressed concern about youngsters going around the cabins and how the cleanup would be handled by the township Public Works Department.
"You can't have stuff lying around 50 feet from the playground there," Flatt said.
"All debris has to be left inside the cabins," responded Supervisor Jane Neufeld, who pointed out that procedure also has to be strictly observed because the township Harvest Festival occurs at that time.
"If we have all three cabins (are demolished) on one weekend and a contractor comes in that Monday, that can solve a lot of issues," Flatt said.

Liquor License Transfer Linked to Route 739 Plaza

Liquor License Transfer Linked to Route 739 Plaza
by Wayne WItkowski
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, June 21, 2019

 

DINGMANS FERRY -- Signs of progress for a planned Delaware Plaza shopping mall on Route 739 resurfaced when Delaware Township Supervisors set a public hearing about the requested transfer of a new liquor license into the township from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
Supervisors indicated that the request involves a Weis Markets store that will anchor the long awaited plaza. The hearing will take place at 7:15 p.m. during the regularly scheduled June 26 bi-monthly meeting.


Supervisors said they did not know from which business the transfer will take place, but said they understand it's from another Weis store. Speculation indicates it could be the recently shuttered Weis Market in Marshalls Creek on Business Route 209.


Residents will get a clearer idea of the latest updates on the plan and be able to ask questions of the project representatives. Project engineer Joe Hudak of Kiley Associates LLC in Lakeville is expected to attend along with legal representation and perhaps other representation of developer CenterPoint Properties in Atlanta, headed by Charles Miller.
Supervisors bantered the idea whether the liquor department, if approved, would be located in the store or in one of the adjacent buildings.
Groundbreaking originally was scheduled for this past spring.  "It's moving forward," commented Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson.
"We're told they plan to break ground in the fall and to open next spring. That's what they say," said Supervisor Rick Koehler with a critical smile.
Also at the meeting, the board agreed to reopen Doodle Hollow Road, which had been closed for the past six weeks. It unanimously agreed to rescind a resolution in 2018 that allowed the National Park Service to close Doodle Hollow Road to vehicles. "It will remain open," said township administrator Krista Predmore.
The motion followed a lengthy discussion during the workshop that customarily precedes the regular meeting.


A lot of the discussion centered around the idea proposed a few months ago of turning the road over to the NPS because the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area surrounds the township-owned road on both sides. The road has been closed for about six weeks honoring a request by the NPS, but the supervisors switched gears at the meeting.
"If you abandon that road, they (the NPS) are going to close it," said resident Steve McBride during the workshop.


"If the state (Game Commission) stocks that stream (near the road) why do it if no one can go there," McBride asked. "Almost everyone I've seen there has fishing gear. The township and township people are going to lose an asset. I beg you, I've hiked there and it's a beautiful area. You're keeping away good people who want to use it."
But Supervisor Jane Neufeld questioned how many people aside from residents and visitors "in the know" use it.  "We're struggling to keep something open that I'm not sure many people use," Neufeld said.  By the time the motion came up in the meeting, all three supervisors were convinced the road needs to stay open.


The board also agreed to execute a Monroe Loan Share Account (from casino gaming revenue) for $150,000 for construction costs for work on six roads and equipment purchases to support the township Public Works. The township has to match that amount and is using $72,000 of it for equipment and $56,788 for a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado MD dump truck from a dealership under the state CoStars program that seeks out the lowest priced vendors for municipalities.


Tar and chip work will take place at Pocono Acres, costing an estimated $36,527.37; Nichecronk Road ($18,625.44); Mary Stuart Road ($21,724.88); Johnny Bee Road ($14,596.72) and Emery Road ($26,661.60).


Also at the meeting, supervisors said they still have not decided on a request by the Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps for financial help in repairing its ambulances. The board earlier this year had rescinded its release of funds to the corps and said it needs more financial data. "We've asked them for one thing weeks ago and still haven't gotten it," said Neufeld.


The board also discussed buildings at Akenac Park. During the regular meeting, it approved a change order request on the park's Recreation Building pier repair project reducing the price by $1,095. The board, on recommendation of township Engineer Jon Tresslar, agreed to pay Mar-Allen Concrete Products Inc. the second and final payment of $37,262.75 for the Rec Building pier project in a separate motion.


During the meeting, supervisors discussed whether to raze three remaining log cabins or to pay the $200 annual insurance for each one and the $9,000-$12,000 estimates to repair roofs and building piers.


"If the cabins go away, it will cost a lot more if, 15 years from now under a new Board of Supervisors, they feel bad they do not have a place to display," Neufeld said.
Board Chairman John Henderson disagreed and wondered how much use the cabins were getting aside from the annual Christmas program there. "I was elected to the board to curtail some of the spending in Akenac. It would be foolish to spend $200 for insurance for each one and $12,000 in total repairs to let them sit."
Henderson said he had not heard any feedback about what purpose the cabins could serve and McBride encouraged the board to wait and see if there is any public feedback now following this discussion. He said removing them and replacing them with prefab buildings might be cheaper.


"I've worked here five years (recently as roadmaster) and every year the park has doubled in usage. It has increased 200 percent," said Vince Flatt. "We have to draw the line at some time to see what the plans are."  "We should spend money on buildings that are actually being used," McBride said.  But Neufeld said she is "not in a hurry to take down the cabins and spend money to do that while the community has been rediscovering the park."  Supervisors agreed they would survey companies to see the cost of razing and removing the three cabins.

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