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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.

Road Pavers Will Be Busy In Coming Weeks

Road Pavers Will Be Busy In Coming Weeks
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch

DINGMANS FERRY -- Road crews will be seen in numbers around Delaware Township in the weeks ahead for five projects, with two more awaiting the execution of a grant to complete the awarding of bids received.

The township Board of Supervisors, after review by township engineer Jon Tresslar of Boucher & James and township Solicitor Thomas Farley, unanimously approved bids from Wayco, Inc. to tar and chip five roads. It was approved unanimously during the board's regular bi-monthly meeting last week.

The total $118,136 cost will be paid in half by Monroe Loan Share Account funds from casino gaming revenue and the other half through the township's General Fund, which Supervisor Jane Neufeld said afterward may be drawn from the state Liquid Fuels fund to the township.
LSA funds are divided among six contiguous counties that includes Monroe, Pike, Wayne, Northampton, Carbon and Lackawanna.
The board also approved removing and replacing the fishing dock and two swimming docks at Akenac Park lake. It unanimously approved the fishing dock project but passed the replacement of the other two docks in a separate vote, 2-1, with board Chairman John Henderson dissenting because he questioned whether one swimming dock needs to be replaced. Henderson said after his "no" vote that he was elected to the board by residents who want prudent spending.
Tar and chip road work, meanwhile, will take place on 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).
The board also approved unanimously for Henderson to execute some of the approved $896,000 to the township from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Multi-Modal Transportation Fund to resurface all of Doolan Road and part of Park Road in the township, pending awarding of bids.
"Advertising and bidding has already taken place for these projects. We cannot move forward until the grant agreement is fully executed," said township Administrator Krista Predmore afterward.
As for replacing the three deteriorating docks at Akenac Park lake, the total share of the township payment will be $33,709.10, after funding through a Marcellus mini-grant agreement between the township and Pike County Commissioners under the county's Scenic Rural Preservation Program. The grant was amended to allow for an extension through Nov. 30. Seaman's Marine will handle the project.
The current fishing dock is closed off against entry and the new one will be a floating dock with railing. It will be made of heavy gauge plastic that Predmore pointed out is easier to maintain and keep clean. The board followed Henderson's objection and will not install benches on the new fishing dock. "We could have that installed some other time," Henderson said.The total cost is $20,610.70, with $9,340.50 paid through the grant and the township paying the $11,370.20 balance.
The two swimming docks will cost the township $12,200.95 and $8,337.95, a total combined cost of $22,338.90.
"Costs go up. Removal goes up. Let's do it now. We have the money (in the budget surplus)," said Neufeld, who is township Treasurer.
Predmore could not estimate, when asked, when the project would be started and completed but said, "It won't take long, maybe on a Tuesday when the park is closed."
Supervisors also tabled a decision on replacing boats and canoes at the lake with ones made of either aluminum or fiberglass, allowing time to survey companies including contacting Kittatinny Canoes for some thought on the idea and perhaps purchasing some boats from them.
The board also approved the purchase of five tables and 60 chairs for the Akenac Park Recreation Building at a cost not to exceed $1,626.48. The motion was made after lengthy discussion on the subject during the board's workshop before the regular meeting when resident LoriAnn Hines, a member of the township Planning Commission, stressed the need for more seating to accommodate some of the bigger parties and receptions catered by her cafe that take place there. That purchase will be funded through the sale of unusable equipment that includes a walk-in refrigerator that recently sold for $3,500 and a dishwasher and bun warmer that will go on sale.
Habitat for Humanity of Pike County, Inc. was granted its request for a waiver of permit feeds pertaining to a handicap access ramp for a home located at Marcel Lake Estates in Dingmans Ferry. Habitat chapter Associate Executive Director Barbara Hupfer pointed out that the homeowning family's income "is below the poverty line and unable to pay the permit fee."
She said the nonprofit, ecumenical Christian Housing Ministry, through volunteer labor and donation in partnership with homeowners' efforts, "seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness."
In an unusual motion, the board agreed to an estimate from Sequoia Tree Service to remove a tree in an amount not to exceed $2,200. It will take out a white pine that was rooted in township property and toppled onto a tree on the Mele property on 1135 Milford Road, which created an overhanging hazard that could lead to an outage with the electrical power line leading into the house on the property.
The board also approved a $1,475.00 estimate from Tri-State Flagpole to install a 20-foot flagpole with a ground sleeve at the baseball field on Wilson Hill Road.
Supervisors also discussed during the workshop concerns about safety issues involving parking for the Pocono Environmental Education Center's tours of its camp groups of the quarry on 145 Wilson Hill Road, including for Geology Week in October. Supervisors pointed out that it might be better for PEEC campers' vehicles to park closer to the quarry because of township vehicles and vehicles from other companies driving into that area.

Lifeguard Hiring, Boat Buys Ready Akenac Waterfront

Lifeguard Hiring, Boat Buys Ready Akenac Waterfront
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch

DINGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township's supervisors are making some quick, 11th hour moves to further prepare Akenac Park ready for the summer season that begins in just a couple of weeks.
The township for the first time appointed a part-time seasonal head lifeguard at the park. Enid Resto will fill that role from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend at a rate of $14 per hour. The supervisors approved that appointment as well as rehiring two part-time seasonal lifeguards for this summer during their regular bi-monthly meeting last week.
They said a head lifeguard is needed with so many visitors at the park and lake during the busiest time of the year, including the board's approval at the meeting of Pocono Environmental Education Center's summer camps on Wednesdays from July 3 to Aug. 21 and PEEC's Family Camp Weekends next Saturday and on July 4 weekend. Resto also will oversee visitors and vacationers at the lake as well as family events there approved by the board.
They also agreed to purchase a boat and canoe for the park from Dick's Sporting Goods for $1,264.97.
But for anyone looking to fish, that's a different situation. The board approved closing off the entrance to the fishing dock for the public as it seeks a company to refurbish that and two smaller docks. The supervisors expect to decide who will do it and when the work will begin shortly at their next meeting on May 22 after gathering information on prospective companies.
Replacing the docks can be done this summer, said the supervisors during discussion at their workshop prior to their regular meeting. Township Public Works Director Vince Flatt said the dock's deterioration makes it "somewhat of a safety issue eventually."
"It's dangerous and only a matter of time when somebody would fall through the railings that are starting to go," Flatt said.
Supervisors said the newer designs for the fishing dock involve less maintenance.

The township received funding to restore and replace the docks from the Pike County Scenic Rural Character Preservation's Marcellus Mini Grant Program for $9,340.50 and the township has matched that figure.
We plan to replace the current fishing dock with a floating dock," explained township Administrator Krista Predmore afterward. "There is only one grant received for the replacement of one (fishing) dock. If the township decides to replace the two (other smaller) docks in the swimming area, the purchases would not be covered by a grant."
The township already has replaced the existing floating dock for swimmers in the middle of the lake.
Supervisors also will discuss adding more tables to the three already in the Recreation Hall as well as adding more chairs. Visitors who were approved of using the Rec Hall for gatherings had to supply their own tables and chairs. The new tables and chairs would be stores in a "cutout" enclosed area and the supervisors plan to discuss procedures on buying and storing new tables and chairs as well as installing a door at the cutout area. Supervisor Jane Neufeld said estimates could run to about $2,500.
Delaware Township Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson and fellow board member Rick Koehler said they have stayed in touch with Commonwealth Health Emergency Medical Services and recently received an email saying that Commonwealth plans to advertise for job openings in the Milford area very soon. Commonwealth has been in discussion with a consortium of seven Pike County municipalities, including Delaware Township, for Basic Life Support and Advance Life Support services.
"That (possible new service) has nothing to do with our (township) ambulance corps," said Henderson of the local beleaguered service that has cut its service hours amid financial concerns.
He said after the meeting that it's been an "up and down" situation trying to bring Commonwealth to the area.
During the workshop, supervisors discussed and later rejected the suggestion from West Easton to collaborate on crafting a township Right to Know Resolution. Supervisors said the idea has merit because some residents can be persistent on requesting more and more documents and that some townships charge 25 cents per page when there are so many documents requested that it becomes a burden to township employees.
They concluded there is no need to go that route on a resolution at this time.
Supervisors also approved the adoption of Chestnut Ridge Road by Melissa Joseph as part of the township's Adopt-A-Road program.
Neufeld during Public Comment at the end of the regular meeting talked about her involvement with the county's Opioid Task Force that meets the first Tuesday of each month. She said the task force has discussed expanding resources to make the public more aware of addiction and recovery, an epidemic problem that affects entire families.

PennDOT Confirms Route 739 Work Schedule

PennDOT Confirms Route 739 Work Schedule
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, May 2, 2019

DINGMANS FERRY -- Motorists will find that many roads around Delaware Township will have a smoother ride in the months ahead.
Along with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's recent repaving of badly worn stretches of State Route 2001/Milford Road in the township, the state agency responded to a letter of concern from the township Board of Supervisors dated March 4 about other major local roads and gave assurances that needed work will be done. That information was shared by the board at its latest workshop before its regular meeting last week.


The letter from Assistant Direct Executive-Maintenance Dennis Giordano read about concerns "regarding State Route 739 from Log Tavern Road/SR 2006 in Dingman Township south to SR 2001 in Delaware Township ... and the portion of this road located in Delaware Township not being on PennDOT's 2019 construction season projects list. "Please be advised that SR 739 from the (Dingmans) toll bridge to just north of its intersection with SR 2001 (Milford Road) will be resurfaced, via contract, and is scheduled to be bid this year. The section of SR 739 from SR 2001 to Log Tavern Road (SR 2006) has been evaluated and is scheduled to be paved in 2022."At the meeting, township Solicitor Thomas Farley opened bids for local road projects. The lone bidder -- Wayco Paving & Asphalt Service in Waymart -- gave five bids for seven secondary roads in the township for tar & chip work. The board voted to table a decision, pending an evaluation of the bids by the township engineer. The work is expected to be awarded in a May meeting.


Many smaller "housekeeping" motions were made and approved at the meeting. The board agreed to sell and advertise for sale a little-used walk-in refrigerator and walk-in freezer from the Akenac Park Rec Hall. Roadmaster Vince Flatt estimated the freezer to be worth $4,500 to $5,000. It was part of a multi-page assessment of revamping the Rec Hall kitchen examined by the board and discussed during the workshop held before the regular meeting. Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson considered some of the recommended purchases on the list "pricey.""It's a very good plan," said Flatt, who said remodeling that area will smooth the work flow of food service.


Also approved during the regular meeting was a $1,700 allotment from the township's General Fund to replace the floating dock at the Akenac Park lake, based on one Honesdale company's estimate. "It's lightweight but has a high weight (supporting) capacity," said township Administrator Krista Predmore during discussion at the workshop. "It will have a ladder and does not require annual maintenance."


"We have the money for this (in the budget)," said Supervisor Jane Neufeld. Also at the workshop, the supervisors said they are undecided about allocating township funds from the emergency services part of its budget that was requested for ambulance repairs by the Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson and Farley said the board still awaits more detailed information on the ambulance corps budget and expenditures. Also tabled off the workshop was a decision on the Blue Ridge Cable franchise agreement with the township, which still is under negotiation. The board also approved at the meeting paying Dingmans Ferry Stone $1,040 for 44 tons of white beach sand and $1,670 for 60 yards of certified playground mulch for Akenac Park. The township's Recreation Board's request to move its monthly meetings to the Akenac Park Rec Hall from May through October also was approved. The board approved the Rec Board's Music in the Park event for Akenac Park on July 6 from 4-10 p.m. with a classic rock band and food sold by the Dingmans Ferry Lions Club. The board refused to allow for a bonfire after the live music late in the night requested by the Rec Board.


The Rec Board's request to not participate in the Dingman Car Show was approved as was the board's decision not to plan a Community Road Clean Up Day. "The board does not feel that the planning of a community event to clean up a sponsored road is within their scope of responsibility," read the Rec Board's memo sent to the supervisors. Predmore was approved to attend the Pike County Conservation District Lunch and Learn event on the morning of May 23. The board announced the Smart Recovery Group for drug addiction will continue to meet Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the township's Emergency Management Building on Wilson Hill Road. Also, the Pike County Alliance for Prevention Program's Reality Tour takes place 6 p.m. May 16 at the Milford Bible Church. Pre-registration is required, with a $5 admission fee.

Childs Park, Road Conditions Top Meeting with DWGNRA Superintendent

Childs Park, Road Conditions Top Meeting with DWGNRA Superintendent
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, April 18, 2019


DINGMANS FERRY -- Sula Jacobs, appointed Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area superintendent by the National Park Service in September, accepted an invitation by the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors to attend its meeting to hear ideas and concerns and commit to residents' interests.
"I think it's important we all come up with a solution," said Jacobs, referring to questions such as when the restoration work in Childs Park located in the township will be complete for it to reopen. Jacobs could not specify when that might happen after the multi-million dollars worth of damage from the two nor'easters that struck the area in early March last year.
"We've closed it (Childs Park) to work on the outbuilding, the large amount of trail that has fallen away, huge amounts of work," Jacobs said. "We've closed it to make the right changes."
Jacobs made a lot of points and wrote down many of them as she has been seen doing in meetings with community leaders and residents

"You invited me to be here. I will get here," Jacobs said in her opening remarks. "It (her new job) is coming back home. I grew up in Sullivan County, New York nearby and spent a lot of time in the park. I know I've cared so significantly about the resources. I'm from the area; I know about the economy."
Jacobs worked previously since 2014 at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in the states of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. She succeeds John Donahue, who retired as DWGNRA superintendent at the end of 2017.
Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson expressed satisfaction about the meeting afterward.
"What I get out of it is she is open to working with the township on a personal basis freely with the federal government, which is a breath of fresh air, although I did (also) have that relationship (in the past) with John Donahue, " Henderson said. "I'm pleasantly surprised we have that relationship (with the NPS) again."
During the meeting, which took up nearly all of the scheduled hour-long workshop before the regular meeting, Henderson asked about the potholes along Route 209 through the park caused by winter weather that recently have raised concerns for motorists.
"I have asked for emergency repair work (on the federal level) on the worst of them," Jacobs said. "We did the best we could do and will work on it (ourselves) over the summer. The work we do can only help so much. There's a holdup on the (federal) funding."
Jacobs said a lot of the makeshift patch work being done locally could break down again shortly, particularly in the crown of the road where it is difficult to repair the damaged grids used to alert motorists drifting to the other side of the road.
"The ultimate goal (of the NPS) is to shut down Route 209 to commercial traffic. Is it still the ultimate goal," asked 
township Attorney Thomas Farley, who also asked when that might happen.
"The NPS is restrictive on commercial vehicles. We can't control (its) legislation," Jacobs said. "We have to follow the (U.S.) Department of the Interior and the NPS policy. The policy is expiring soon and we have to go by that national policy."
Also discussed was the deteriorating, dangerous condition of Wilson Hill Road as a crosstown access to Route 209. Its maintenance is shared in some areas by the National Park Service and in others by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the township. 
"We're actually working on it. There's nothing to communicate further," said Jacobs. "We're definitely moving forward. It's a priority."
Part of that roadway on the eastern end falls under the NPS up to a gate that has been closed during emergencies, which is located farther in off Route 209 than other gates built on side roads. All of them were installed a couple of years ago.
"What is the philosophy of the gates? Why have the gates," Henderson asked. "When are they opened and closed? I know when John Donahue was superintendent he said it's to protect people from themselves."
"It's during major accidents," Jacobs said. "To divert traffic is one of the potential uses of the gates."
She added, "They are closed for the protection of visitors."
Supervisor Jane Neufeld said the township needs to be notified when gates are closed so residents don't travel down those roads form State Route 2001/Milford Road, only to have to turn around as they approach Route 209.
The supervisors said, when asked afterward, that they are still exploring the idea whether to install their own gates at the top, western ends of those roadways that would be shut when the NPS closes its gates.
They also discussed the Heller Farm on Route 209 that once had a store selling fresh grown produce to visitors, with an honor box.
"It's not that I'm against that. It doesn't have the right opportunity," Jacobs said.
Jacobs and the supervisors discussed the National Park Service's planned barricading of Doodle Hollow Road to vehicles during summer months. Although the road is owned by the township, the land on both sides is part of the DWGNRA. Supervisors mentioned in past discussions about dedicating the road to the NPS but they and Jacobs agreed to further discussion.
When that workshop segment opened to public discussion, Max Brinson of the Friends of Marie Zimmerman nonprofit read a heartfelt statement about the Zimmerman homestead and farm that has been closed to the public since 2017, except for one annual Marie Zimmerman Day open house. Brinson pressed for the homestead to again be opened for tours on summer weekends.
Brinson told Jacobs that the nonprofit has raised $2 million in public funding and $400,000 in private donations and talked about how the homestead had become a meaningful part of the local community.
Brinson said afterward his group has waivered in its commitment because of the closing of the homestead by the NPS. It has a six-member board and its general membership has 20 volunteers.
"It's hard to keep people interested when it's closed," Brinson said. "It's a shame. There's a real push from Washington D.C. (where the National Park office is headquartered) to lease properties in the park for 10 years."
Brinson said he has a followup meeting scheduled with Jacobs this week.
During the regular meeting, supervisors approved quarterly reports on the General Fund and Recreation Fund. When asked afterward about the state of the General Fund at this point versus the budget passed in December, Neufeld said, "It looks good. Our spending ties in with the season. We're doing pretty well. I'm not at all unhappy 
with where we are in the first quarter."
The board unanimously approved a $2,912.88 reimbursement request by the township volunteer fire company from the township's $16,000 annual fire company allocation to buy collapsible traffic cones and needed equipment. It also allotted $1,949.03 to the fire company for its first-quarter tax distribution.
Supervisors agreed to notify Dingman Township that they are accepting the updated boundary line information that Dingman sent to them.
The board unanimously approved donating two port-o-johns and to provide traffic control for the Dingmans Ferry Lions Club's Fishing Contest at Egli Pond on Route 739 from noon to 3 p.m. on April 27. Rain date is the following day. The Lions Club, in a letter to the supervisors, said approval of the port-o-johns is a $1,200 savings. Over 300 trout are stocked, with prizes awarded to the three largest fish caught, and children receive hot dogs and a soda and a prize for attending.
It also approved field use by the Pike County Women's Softball League from June 3-Aug. 4 from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Sundays and from 6-9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
An update on the Blue Ridge Communication franchise agreement up for renewal was tabled until the next meeting as more information is gathered.

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