Upper Hanover Township supervisors on Monday decided not to accept a grant from Montgomery County that would have extended the walking trail at Centennial Park.
Centennial Park is located on Bitting Alley between Fourth and Third streets and is shared with Red Hill Borough. Supervisor Chairman Richard Fain told the board that Red Hill Borough Council expressed interest in extending the walking trail and agreed to perform ongoing maintenance.
Three supervisors – Mary Gibbs-Kershner, Shannen Bieler and Eugene Fried – were against proceeding with the project, which would have cost the township a 10 percent match of the $41,030 grant, or approximately $4,100.
Gibbs-Kershner expressed her concern that the trail would provide vandals with easier access to adjacent privately owned properties. Bieler said that the trail does not connect to the township’s trail system and could be underutilized by residents. Fried added that he felt the trail would not be safe due the seclusion created by the dense cedar trees.
“To put a trail to go through what Little Red Riding Hood had to go through… I can’t see it,” Supervisor Ben Fiorito said.
Also during Monday night’s workshop session, James Meitzler of Godshall Kane Architects, speaking on behalf of New Goshenhoppen Church, requested a waiver from township the land development ordinances. Meitzler said that the church has funds endowed for American with Disabilities Act upgrades and would like to replace the existing walkway leading from the sanctuary to the education building with a compliant two-story breezeway.
The supervisors approved the waiver specific to the plans presented. A 3-D rendering of the proposed project can be found on the church’s website, www.newgoshucc.org, under accessibility.
In other business, Fried discussed the possibility of allowing township personnel to carry over unused vacation days beyond the existing April 30 expiration deadline. Fried added that a second option would be to pay employees for unused vacation.
“I would hate to see them do the good job that they are doing and then lose their vacation days,” Fried said of the township employees.
Fried asked supervisors to consider the options, as well as alternatives or controls before budget negotiations begin.
Fiorito cautioned supervisors to consider the options carefully to avoid allowing employees to accrue extensive lengths of vacation time that could end up costing the township.
“If you don’t set a time frame, you’re accumulating a liability,” Fiorito said. “Right now my position is that business doesn’t do it and they don’t do it for a reason.”
Fain asked supervisors to consider the matter further for future discussion.
On Tuesday night, Township Manager Stan Seitzinger informed supervisors that he submitted a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation requesting that one lane of traffic remains open when two bridges are replaced on Route 29 in Palm in 2013. Seitzinger added that PennDOT officials are still considering options for the project and expect a decision sometime this fall.
In the meantime, neighboring municipalities that would be impacted by the project also have agreed to send letters requesting that one lane of traffic remain open.