By Kaylee Lindenmuth
SHENANDOAH - Borough Council, in their regular monthly meeting for June on Wednesday, approved the 2018 Street Paving Project and awarded the project to a company.
In 2018, the borough will have West Coal Street from Race to Locust repaved in the Glover's Hill section of the borough, as well as Catherine Street from Oak to Cherry, and a portion of Cherry Street.
M&J Excavation of Bloomsburg, Columbia County, was awarded the project as the low bidder, at a cost of $86,931 for the three projects, which will be paid for through the borough's Community Development Block Grant fund and Liquid Fuels fund.
After the bid was awarded, Mayor Andrew Szczyglak asked council if anything could be done about the unit block of North Ferguson Street, a key loading area for downtown businesses.
"I was approached yesterday by Francesco Logozzo, who owns Francesco's Restaurant. He's asking, is there anything that can be done with Ferguson Street, the unit block of North Ferguson Street behind the restaurant. It is horrible," said Szczyglak.
"We could review it, Andrew. There's many streets--" said Council President Leo Pietkiewicz.
"I know, but at least patchwork or something, because he was telling me that his delivery people are complaining, because when they take the stuff off the trucks, they can't use a dolly--"
"We could review it, I mean, we have the 300 block of Columbus, we have the issue in Turkey Run, I mean there's numerous ones. We look for the high volume streets, trying to use our money wisely to get as much done as possible," said Pietkiewicz.
"That is one of the highest volume--" said a resident in attendance.
"You're out of order," Pietkiewicz interrupted. "I know it's high volume, but like I'm saying, there's other streets that have more volume traffic, and that's the way we approach it."
"But what I'm asking is if we could maybe use cold patch," asked Szczyglak.
"Cold patch or maybe hot patch," said Pietkiewicz.
In other business, borough council purchased two properties on West Coal Street near Race Street from the Schuylkill County Tax Claim Bureau for $1 each.
The two properties were acquired for the demolition of the abandoned properties at Coal and Race Street.
Council approved a motion to solicit bids for the demolition of properties at 131 Girard Avenue as well as 425-427 West Poplar Street.
Also approved were applications for handicapped parking at 646 West Coal and 215 1/2 North Jardin Street.
It was noted that council received six applications for a part-time code enforcement officer position, and it was motioned that up to two would be hired, depending on the borough's financial capabilities.
Downtown Shenandoah Inc., requested a review of the borough's zoning ordinance, which was approved. According to DSI manager Mary Luscavage, the review will be at no cost to the borough.
Council received requests for the Rescue Hook & Ladder Fire Company to close off East Coal from Main to White for their block party in August, to have no parking in the 200 block of North Main on the Friday thereof, and permission to have an outdoor refreshment stand, per PLCB requirements, as well as a request from the Shenandoah Mennonite Church on North Chestnut Street to shut down Chestnut from Lloyd to Centre on Friday, July 27 for a service concluding their vacation bible school. The requests from both organizations were approved.
A request was also received from the Shenandoah Boy Scout troop for the potential donation/use of a piece of land for camping or outdoor activities. It was noted that council would look into the request to see if they had any suitable parcels.
The Shenandoah Valley Class of 2020 requested to use Main and Centre Streets for a can collection on Friday August 3rd from 3pm to 6pm, while the Shenandoah Valley Varsity Cheerleader Parents requested to use the intersection for a can collection on July 14 and 15. Pietkiewicz noted in clarification that the borough's liability insurance only extends to borough and sewer authority employees in their operations.
"If an organization wishes to use borough-owned property for a fundraiser or community event, the organization must have liability protection of their own, and a certificate of insurance should be issued to the borough, preferably naming Shenandoah borough as an additional insurer," said Pietkiewicz, noting that any organization who wishes to use Main and Centre must have their own insurance.
Also received by council and read at the borough council was a letter from the Fuller Center for Housing, which plans to purchase a property in Shenandoah to serve as a warehouse for a home building program in the region, which the letter says will provide homes for the less fortunate while reusing building materials from blighted homes.
"We welcome you to the community, first of all, I'd like to thank you. It's a dignified effort that you're looking to help the less fortunate and also improve the appearance and the property values of Shenandoah, so we thank you for your support," said Pietkiewicz.
During the public portion, resident Eileen Burke spoke to council about issues with activity at Vine Street Park after dusk, as well as other nuisance issues on the west end.
Afterward, Donna Gawrylik brought documents regarding the USDA Rural Utility Services loan taken out by the Municipal Authority of the Borough of Shenandoah, noting that the borough guaranteed it, though Pietkiewicz said the loan which the borough did not guarantee was the PennVest loan.
"We cannot justify going from 1% to 4%. I can't justify extending a loan that's going to be paid off in a year at 1% to extend it longer at 4%," said Pietkiewicz.
"All we're asking is what Girardville got approved by their council," said Gawrylik.
"That's fine, that's Girardville. That's a different borough," said Pietkiewicz.
"That's Girardville, that's correct. That's a smaller community than ours. The fact of the matter is, we can save money, but obviously, it doesn't seem it's going to come any way to benefit the water authority, because you have your mind made up that you don't want to do it," said Gawrylik.
"You have the authority to go ahead with the other financing plan," said Pietkiewicz. "Right now, we're still taking advice from the PA Economy League, and we're reviewing it. My personal opinion on it is that I cannot see a loan that is 1% that will be paid off in a year, to increase it to 4% over an extended period of time."
Rich Stevens, president of the Shenandoah Area Girls Softball League, requested an update on the light posts at Bicentennial Park, which Pietkiewicz noted the borough would request the assistance of the local fire department in taking the posts down. Stevens then requested the use of borough security cameras at the field, which was approved.
Charlie Vascavage then requested an update on Girard Park, to which council member JP Dombrosky noted that the borough was looking into another grant, and work may not start for another year.
Dombrosky then stood and circled back to Burke's complaints, noting that his son uses Bicentennial Park during the day, leaves by nightfall, and noted that "bad kids do come in." As a result, Dombrosky noted that council members would begin walking the streets, knocking on doors and issuing quality of life tickets as necessary.
"I go out walking with my family, it's a mess," said Dombrosky. "We've got to do something now."
"As elected officials, we could issue quality of life tickets, as we're going along," said Pietkiewicz. "JP's idea is, as we go along, if we issue citations, and they don't know what street we're going to be on, they don't know when we're coming, that the word gets around 'Hey, they might be walking my street this week, I've got to clean up my porch'"
"We're trying to get the down back into shape, we'll never get it back to the 30s, 40s, 50s, the boom town that it was, but to let people know that we are going to aggressively go out and review the town and the issues with it," said Pietkiewicz.