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Upper Macungie OKs startup money for proposed community center


Special to The Press

Upper Macungie supervisors approved a motion to authorize startup funding for the township’s community fund at their Sept. 2 meeting.

Township Manager Bob Ibach said the community fund is a nonprofit formed with “the blessing of the board” to collect donations for the construction and operation of the proposed township community center at Grange Park.

He said the fund’s board has been formed “to a minimum,” and was asking the township for startup money to begin the fundraising process and cover any legal expenses, contract reviews, printing or other needs.

Ibach also said the requested funds would be taken from the 2021 budget allocation for the community center, so there would be no negative budget impact.

Chairman James Brunell asked where the proposed contribution amount $150,000 came from.

Recreation board and community fund member Bret Spangler said it was based on the price charged by the project’s initial review company.

“We didn’t feel comfortable with that amount of money,” he said. “We decided a little more than half of that should be plenty for us to get started.”

Ibach said the convergent amount was $267,000 plus expenses.

Supervisor Sean Gill, a member of the community fund board, said numerous people in the community want to donate to the project, and the organization was looking for someone to be responsible and accountable for fundraising.

The board approved the authorization of the $150,000 contribution to the fund for start up expenses.

Later in the meeting, resident Sunny Ghai asked about the community center’s current status, layout and design, noting some aspects of the plan have changed over time.

He also asked if it would be possible for the township to provide an update on the project to the community, stating it has been several years since an initial resident survey was conducted and a presentation made about the center’s design.

Ibach said the site plan is currently going to land development, and architectural plans are around 80 percent complete.

Recreation and Event Coordinator Lynn Matula said information and the latest project renderings are on the township’s website to view, along with the history of the community center project.

Supervisor Kathy Rader noted if there will be a presentation in the future it would likely be at the township building, and possibly livestreamed, as well.