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North Catty grants

North Catasauqua Borough Council held a virtual meeting over video conference May 18. Councilwoman Cherie Gebhardt discussed the state of the recreation committee in the midst of COVID-19.

Nearly all of the committee’s revenue comes from events and activities held in the summer, but it seems unlikely that most, if any, of those events will be able to take place.

Aside from the obvious tragedy that the borough will be losing a full summer of entertaining community activities, the committee also faces the risk of losing grant funding if it does not use the money it had already been awarded for the year.

Without family nights or the summer concert series, the recreation committee’s expenses for 2020 will be much lower than expected, so Gebhardt hopes money can be repurposed for other events in the fall and winter.

Assuming concerts are not able to happen over the summer, the recreation committee is entertaining the notion they could put some of that leftover funding toward holding concerts in September or even early October.

Otherwise, North Catasauqua can expect an extravagant Christmas tree-lighting ceremony at the park in December.

During the meeting, Mayor William Molchany announced North Catasauqua Police Department secured a $500 grant to purchase a surveillance camera, which will be installed on the Delaware and Lehigh Trail.

Borough council also voted unanimously in favor of leasing four new vehicles from Enterprise Fleet Services. This comes after the police department was forced to abandon two cruisers that had continuous engine problems.

Enterprise will provide replacements for both vehicles, as well as a new car for police Chief Chris Wolfer, whose current cruiser will be repurposed for fire Chief Shawn McGinley. The fourth vehicle will go to the borough’s emergency management department.

Council President Peter Paone announced North Catasauqua had been awarded more than $145,000 in a Local Share Account grant from Lehigh and Northampton counties. This is in addition to a roughly $80,000 LSA grant from Monroe County, all of which will go toward developments at the borough’s municipal complex at 1460 Main St.

In September 2019, Paone announced his plan to beautify part of the complex and convert it into a public green space. These renovations would also include the construction of a public two-way road that would go from Main Street to the D&L trailhead, which is tucked away behind the municipal complex.

In total, the project is estimated to cost more than $1 million, so the borough is taking it on in phases.

These two LSA grants will give the borough nearly a quarter of a million dollars toward the project, which will start with the road to the trailhead. Paone noted the existing access to the D&L trailhead is not very inviting or noticeable, so few residents are aware it exists. Adding this road will greatly increase both the visibility and accessibility of the trailhead.

Paone hopes any leftover funding for the road construction can go toward geological surveys that are needed to start work on the green space.

In other news, after several months of work, borough council finally passed the nondomesticated animal ordinance. First reported in September 2019, several North Catasauqua residents - and even some borough employees - made complaints about the incessant crowing of a rooster somewhere in town.

When the issue was first raised publicly, Solicitor Steven Goudsouzian suggested the borough take this opportunity to set rules for all kinds of animal ownership. This led to the creation of the ordinance, which now officially establishes what animals can and cannot be owned in the borough and what conditions they must be kept in.