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Rec center director shares youth behavior concerns

During the May 5 Northampton Borough Council meeting, council addressed reports of alleged questionable behavior at the Northampton Recreation Center, 1 Lerchenmiller Drive, Northampton.

Borough Manager LeRoy Brobst received a proposal from Jason Kremus, rec center director, in response to alleged intentional disruptive behavior by a group of middle school-aged youngsters using day passes to hang out at the center.

Kremus alleges the youths are in Northampton Area Middle School and “are here (at the rec center) for all the wrong reasons.”

In Kremus’ proposal, he articulates the center has terminated two student memberships and permanently banned five other students from ever purchasing day passes or future memberships.

Kremus noted he has received numerous complaints from regular members about the behavior. If not stopped, those concerned members will seek another gym in which to exercise, he reported.

Kremus proposed council increase the day pass cost for residents from $6 during the week and $10 on the weekend to a $10 day pass fee seven days a week and increasing the day pass fee for nonresidents to $15 Mondays through Thursdays and $20 Fridays through Sundays.

The proposal included a requirement for middle school-aged students who purchase day passes to have a responsible adult 18 years or older with them when they are inside the building.

Kremus asked this new payment structure and rules to begin June 1. Council approved the proposal for supervision for the middle schoolers but did not approve the increase in costs for day passes.

Police Chief Bryan Kadingo requested and received council permission to allow an officer to attend a one-week course of instruction to be a trainer in survival training. The course, held at the Telford Police Station in Souderton, runs June 20-24. The cost is $1,200.

The course covers a multitude of standing and ground fighting techniques designed to teach the officer how to survive encounters with larger and stronger actors. At the conclusion of the training, the officer will be a certified instructor so he can train other members of the police department.

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church requested and received council permission to close a portion of East 22nd Street between Ridge Alley and Lincoln Avenue and a portion of Ridge Alley between East 22nd Street and Deibert Alley for its centennial celebration June 12.

The Diamond Fire Company, Walnutport, requested and received council permission to use the borough’s portable band trailer, with the fee waived, for an outside event July 1-3. Diamond will need to pay a delivery and pickup fee and provide Northampton with a certificate of insurance.

Kremus reported AARP thanked him for allowing AARP to complete tax forms for members and residents at the recreation center. AARP reported they completed 145 federal, 141 state and many more local tax returns and property tax rebates.

It was reported the public works crew has begun preparation of the municipal swimming pool for the 2022 season. There remains a need for pool staff. Advertisements have been placed in local newspapers and on social media.

Brobst reported he is in the process of establishing random drug and alcohol testing as required by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for all borough employees with CDLs and for all police officers.

The next Northampton Borough Council meeting is set for 7 p.m. May 19 in the municipal building, 1401 Laubach Ave., Northampton. This is an in-person meeting only.