Iron Works project progressing
At the July 26 Catasauqua Borough Council workshop meeting, Chad Helmer provided an update from Taggart Associates regarding the Iron Works project.
Currently, asbestos abatement of the plate shop and the demolition of the plate shop are moving forward.
Helmer said the next phase is to save and possibly rehabilitate some of the buildings that are structurally sound at the project site. This work is being grant funded.
Taggart, consultant for the borough project, is seeking additional grant funding for the project, including about $680,000 in supplemental grant and Local Shared Account county funding.
A multimodal grant in the amount of about $560,000 is secured for the purposes of funding public roadways at the site.
U.S. Congresswoman Susan Wild, D-7th, and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey are recommending federal funding for infrastructure for the project in the amount of $860,000.
A number of easements on the title over the decades have resulted in a title objection from Dunn Twiggar, the site developer that entered into an agreement of sale for the site. Dunn Twiggar desires a clean title from the borough for the sale to move forward.
To date, $3.1 million of grant funding for the project has been secured.
Also at the meeting, borough Manager Stephen Travers said the leaf machine was ordered and delivery of the unit is expected in late August or early September. The cost is about $188,000 and is almost fully covered with a $176,000 grant. The borough’s cost for the leaf machine is around $12,000.
Travers also reported the generator at the water plant is nearly operational and should be online in perhaps two weeks.
The American Rescue Plan funds in the amount of $330,000, originally planned for May, have yet to arrive, Travers noted. The funds are held up by the state and expected to be released soon.
Travers also reported the blight task force working with the borough from the county have identified 16 properties that require attention. Eight of these properties are vacant. The coordinated effort is reviewing the borough’s ordinances on how to handle properties in a state of disrepair.
Solicitor Thomas Dinkelacker noted the borough needs to enact an ordinance regarding 5G access in the borough. The ordinance needs completion by Oct. 28.
Dinkelacker suggested the borough use a law firm from Pittsburgh that specializes in 5G ordinances and issues. Councilwoman Deb Mellish agreed the firm could assist the borough.
Council President Vincent Smith suggested council get a quote from the Pittsburgh firm and possibly vote on it at the Aug. 2 council meeting.
Dinkelacker also noted the 14th Street town house project was given conditional approval by zoning to advance the project.
Engineer Vanessa Nedrick said the Race Street parking lot grant application will be submitted by July 30.
Councilman Cameron Smith, chairman of the general government committee, reported the committee continues to pursue a business registry for all businesses in the borough.
In his public safety committee report, Councilman Brian McKittrick noted there is a vacancy for an alternate on the Civil Service Commission.
After a question from McKittrick, Councilman Paul Cmil, chair of the public utilities committee, reported there has been no movement regarding removing fluoride from the borough’s water. It is in committee but lacked the majority support to take the issue to council.
In her planning and zoning committee report, Mellish said they are working with code enforcement on inspections and issuing high-weed notices.
In recreation committee matters, it was announced there is a GoFundMe account for the Battle of the Balloons, planned for late August. The Battle of the Balloons is a fun event that includes the fire and police departments and kids from Catasauqua Area School District.
Under new business, Vincent Smith opened a discussion about the planned Fest ’O Fall event in October sponsored by Historic Catasauqua Preservation Association.
Because of the success of the StrEAT Fair, held earlier this year, Fest ’O Fall will be held to recapture the previous StrEAT Fair success.
Council will vote on the plan at next week’s council meeting.
A resident asked about feral cats on distressed properties. She reported a rabid cat attacked a dog. The Sanctuary at Haafsville will assist with spaying/neutering feral cats in the borough.
A member of the Catty Betterment Committee said the group would assist seniors who have challenged properties or properties identified under the blighted property program with a variety of services, such as grass mowing, cleanup efforts and other assistance.
The next council meeting is 7 p.m. Aug. 2 at the borough complex, 90 Bridge St. It is a hybrid meeting, with both in-person and virtual options. Visit catasauqua.org for the call-in numbers for the virtual meeting.