CLYMER — The COVID-19 pandemic held up but won’t halt development of a new park that’s designed to sit as a memorial to military and homeland service veterans in Clymer.
The town council learned Tuesday that borough officials expect to advertise for bids in July, award a contract and oversee construction with the expectation of it being finished by year’s end.
In April, the viral outbreak threatened to hold up the project for as long as a year and officials gained an extension of the deadline to spend a $700,000 state grant on the development.
Gibson-Thomas Engineers, of Latrobe, has designed the park. The complete plan, estimated at $815,000, calls for grading and landscaping the oft-flooded ground along Two Lick Creek, adding walks and benches and other park amenities, and upgrading the adjacent section of Sherman Street with new pavement, sidewalks and street lights.
Secretary Sonya Schren-kel had the update in the absence of Borough Manager Rob Barto. Council met for the first time since March in the council chamber in the Sixth Street municipal building after conducting business by teleconference in April and May. Police Chief Louis Sacco was the only borough official masked and distanced from the others against spread of coronavirus.
In other business, the council:
• Joined with other boroughs and townships in the county who have granted an extension of the time to pay property-based taxes without penalty. Clymer’s resolution extends until the end of the year the chance for owners to pay real estate, fire protection and street lighting levies at face value.
• Heard a request from Morris Street resident Gary Richardson to consider posting “no parking” on one side of his street between Elm Street and the dead end. Council President Louis Tate said borough officials would view the street and bring a recommendation for council.
• Heard Penn Street resident Mark Kerrigan’s request for vigilance against speeding motorists on Route 403. Sacco said the borough police, hamstrung by state law that prevents municipal officers from checking speed with radar, would soon be able to step up manual electronic enforcement after the recent repainting of timing stripes on the road.
• Accepted engineer John Emerson’s recommendation to seek bids late in the year for repaving the blocks of Morris, Walcott and Hancock streets that were excavated this year for the water system upgrade and gas line installation projects. The strategy, Emerson said, would be to attract generally low and competitive prices in December, allow the restored streets to settle over the winter, and require a contractor to abide by the bid price when construction season opens next spring.
• Heard Sacco’s report of police department activity during the pandemic: traffic control and escort of parades for the Penns Manor girls’ basketball team and the Penn Manor Class of 2020 graduates; anticipation of newly ordered body cams for the officers; issuing warning notices to property owners for violation of high grass and other ordinance violations; and a search to fill a vacant police officer position.
Police Committee Chairwoman Brietta St. Clair said candidates have been interviewed but the panel hasn’t decided on which to hire.
Sacco also said the ABATE organization has arranged for a motorcycle show June 20 on Franklin Street between the American Legion and Rose of Sharon floral shop. The area will be posted “no parking” on the evening before the event, he said.
• Heard Mayor Christina King’s report of recovering levels of revenue being paid to the borough through law enforcement channels: a total of $1,650.99 in parking meter fees, tickets and costs collected through the district and county courts.
• Heard Fire Chief John Gromley’s report that the department handled six recent complaints of illegal burning in the borough.
Residents are required to get a permit from the borough office before burning limited types of trash or debris.
Gromley also told council that Clymer Volunteer Fire Department will dedicate its fundraising and grant writing efforts to come up with $75,000 needed to replace the stock of air tanks.
“They must be replaced by August 2021,” Gromley said.
Gromley, who also is supervisor of the borough street department, said the parks have been reopened for public use. The restrooms are locked each evening and, along with other facilities, are sanitized daily, he said.
“People are enjoying the parks and they seem to be keeping their distance,” he reported.