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Pennsburg to See Changes to Main Street
Written by Kelly Chandler, Staff Writer

        Residents and motorists will soon see big improvements to Main Street in Pennsburg as part of work promised by developer T.H. Properties (THP).

        The project, which will encompass the 700 and 800 blocks of Main Street, is scheduled to begin sometime next month, borough officials said at Monday’s council meeting.  It will see a left turning lane added to both sides of Main, onto E. and W. Eighth streets, along with a left turn arrow traffic signal and sidewalk renovations.

        Tree clearing, which will be done during phase one in late February, weather permitting, will allow better sight distance at the location, officials noted. 

        Parking in front of Pennsburg UCC and on the south side of Eighth Street may have to be modified though, officials said.  

        The road will not be widened, according to Council President Kris Kirkwood. 

        The project was last discussed more than four years ago as part of negotiated improvements in Upper Hanover Township, where THP’s Northgate development is located, and neighboring Pennsburg borough. Coming out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Janurary 2012, the developer is closing in on selling 300 units at the location off Ott Road.  That number was the amount of units preordained to prompt the roadway improvements, officials said.  

        New Councilwoman Diane Stevens – who was sworn in along with Council members Fred Schutte, Mike Mensch, Ethel Ritchey and Cody Belmont by Mayor Vicki Lightcap Monday – noted she thinks the development has already provided an increase in traffic in the area.  Stevens lives on W. Eighth Street and said she sees the impact already, with the number of units sold climbing monthly.

        “I want to commend THP for being proactive on this, though,” Kirkwood said, noting the Harleysville-based company is making good on its word before being required to do so by Upper Hanover Township.

        In other borough news, council created a new committee, dubbed the outreach committee, to deal with resident concerns. 

        “This became an issue this year with no one overseeing resident concerns, some things were falling through the cracks,” Kirkwood said.

        The committee, overseen by Lightcap, will reportedly be a “one-stop shop for concerns in the borough.”  The committee will report to council to make sure all issues are followed up on until resolved, officials said. 

Officials also moved to set up individual council members’ voicemail boxes through the borough in order to facilitate better communication with residents.

        Council reorganized with Kirkwood elected to serve as council president, Ritchey, vice president and Bruce Lord as president pro tem.  Pennsburg Fire Police also took an oath of office, administered by Lightcap.

        There were, however, several contested votes when council went to appoint officials to both the Upper Montgomery Joint Authority (UMJA) board and the Upper Perkiomen Police Commission. Both Charlie Shagg and Nathan Cordero applied for the five-year position as UMJA representative. 

        Shagg’s appointment was tied after a 3-3 vote, but was voted down after a nay vote from Lightcap.  A motion for Cordero’s appointment also failed with a 4-2 vote.  Council said they will vote on representation to UMJA again next month.  

Councilman Cody Belmont abstained from the action due to his employment by UMJA.

        Roll call votes were also taken for police commission representative as council needed to vote in two committee members and an alternate.  Lightcap will remain on the commission as mayor.  Ritchey was unanimously voted in, but a vote for Stevens failed to garner enough support and a motion to nominate Schutte didn’t get a second.

        “Kris has been extremely instrumental in keeping things together with the police commission and with the budget,” Lightcap said, voicing her opinion that Kirkwood be voted back into the position.

        He was later unanimously approved to serve on the commission.

        Council later appointed Phyllis Bittenbender to the vacancy board, Frank Falk to the police review board, Arlin Christman to the zoning hearing board and Felicia Iski and Fred Schutte to the planning commission.

        A resolution outlining minimum times for the borough to retain documents was altered after Stevens suggested the borough keep social security and wage and tax statements, W-2s and W-3s, permanently versus for four years. 

        While Solicitor Chuck Garner noted the destruction of those documents would have to be approved and voted on separately on each occasion, the resolution passed with the change.






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