NPS Commended for Bridge Quick Reopening
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, September 16, 2021
DINGMANS FERRY -- Sula Jacobs vowed when she was appointed Delaware Water Gap National Recreation superintendent, and told the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors when she introduced herself at a meeting shortly after her appointment, that she would be attuned to the community as a native of the Northeast Pennsylvania region.
She proved that commitment in resolving a recent road dilemma involving the closure of the weather-damaged road to Dingmans Bridge.
In fact, Delaware Township Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson commended the National Park Service for doing a "wonderful job" on its response to "frustrated" residents' complaints and comments that Henderson said were numerous on Facebook when he spoke during the comment period at last week's bi-monthly meeting.
"There is a small PennDOT bridge between the light on (Route) 209 and the Dingmans Ferry bridge across the Delaware that sustained significant damage due to the storm (Tropical Depression Ida)," explained Henderson. "This caused that short portion between 209 and the Dingmans toll bridge to be impassable. There is a bypass road used occasionally by the Park Service, formerly an extension of Johnny Bee road, normally not used for traffic."
Henderson told the gathering at the meeting that he was contacted by township Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker to see if the National Park Service would allow that Johnny Bee extension that runs through the National Park to be used.
"I, in turn, called the Park Service. Park Superintendent Sula Jacobs returned my call within a few minutes. After a brief discussion about the situation and our concerns and suggestion, she set the wheels in motion. In addition she assured me she would call with an update.
"Within two hours the bypass was open for traffic and Krista (Predmore, township administrator) was contacted with an update, info was posted on various sites, and I received the promised call from Ms Jacobs. To her credit, when I thanked her, she responded that many were involved in the process -- PennDOT, many in the Park Service, etc. That's leadership. Other than expediting traffic flow on a busy holiday weekend, the ambulance (services when called) had a much shorter route to New Jersey hospitals."
Henderson expressed dismay that new complaints from commuters surfaced on Facebook even after the matter was resolved.
The Dingmans Bridge was reopened a few days later.
Also during the meeting, supervisors received the resignations of Terasa Tarquini, Mandy Librizzi and Steve Wollman from the township's Recreation Commission that they said in their joint letter is "effective immediately."
"Due to the new law pertaining to agendas, no Board of Supervisors action was taken regarding the Rec resignations so, legally, nothing happened," said Henderson in an email. "I am sure we will accept such at the next meeting."
Tarquini said that, although the Rec Commission successfully ran four events this year, tension has been building from January for the three Rec Commission members who resigned. It came to a head recently regarding the purchase of pumpkins for Harvest Fest scheduled for Akenac Park on Sept. 25..
Supervisors at two prior bi-monthly meetings had tabled the motion to purchase 350 pumpkins from True Value at a total cost of $700 for the festival. The motion came up for a third time at the latest meeting. Neufeld suggested to the supervisors to pass the motion, which they did unanimously.
"The BOS tabled the request for funding for pumpkins on two occasions awaiting the required post-event accounting from the Rec Commission regarding recent events," Henderson explained in an email after the meeting. "We recently received the accounting and the BOS (at its meeting) approved the expenditure. The BOS has an obligation to account to the taxpayers for all expenditures. End of that story."
"It's too late to get them now," said Tarquini of the pumpkins after the meeting.
The resignation letter read, "We were excited to plan our first Harvest Festival, which we know to be a beloved event for the community, but it is clear that all of the hard work was done in vain since we were not given permission to purchase the pumpkins that are expected by the public each year.
"Though we have enjoyed bringing these events (four this year) to the community and wish we could continue to do so, the stress that we have been put under has been too great of a burden to bare any longer."
The letter thanks the township's Public Works Department and the fire police as well as the Lions Club, supervisors, township office staff and the public for their support.
Supervisors approved $20,358.98 to Wayco Inc. for the Sproul Road leveling paving project, more than the original awarded bid cost of $19,647.40, because of six additional tons of material needed.
Eight bids were opened for culvert replacement at Long Meadow, Log & Twig and Spencer roads. Bids were tabled until the next meeting on Sept. 22, pending examination of the bids by the township engineer.
Supervisors approved a free Shred-It event, sponsored by Belle Reve, at Akenac Park from 10 a.m.to 1 p.m.on Oct. 2.
Supervisor Jane Neufeld brought up during the workshop prior to the regular meeting the American Rescue Plan allocation to the township of $700,000. There was a detailed 70-age report that even township Administrator Krista Predmore regarded as "really complicated." Neufeld, who handles the township budget with Predmore, explained there are four categories for how to spend the allocation but said she knew of two companies "with experience working with government structure." The supervisors agreed to contact one of the companies for advice and direction on the funding.
At the Sept. 9 Planning Commission meeting, members passed a recommended draft of a short-term rental ordinance after solicitor Tom Farley confirmed the draft with corrections. The commission advanced to the supervisors a draft of a noise ordinance, using Shohola Township's ordinance as a guideline.
Monroe County Conservation District Environmental Educator Roger Spotts will lead a guided nature hike at the Rock Hill Property off Route 739, 1 p.m. on Sunday. It is sponsored by the Pike County Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program. Rock Hill has an oak forest with a wide variety of animals and plants, including some unusual ones at a unique pond there. Wear sturdy footwear and bring water. Sun block and bug spray are encouraged but not required. RSVP at (570) 296-3500.
Carbon Monroe Pike Drug and Alcohol will hold a recovery event celebration at Akenc Park Saturday. ... Pike County Elections needs a Judge of Elections in Delaware No. 1 (Holy Trinity Church). Anyone interested can contact Elections Office Director Nadeen Manzoni at (570) 296-3427.