By Peter Becker

Managing Editor

HAWLEY - Queen of Peace Parish is planning some sidewalk improvements. William Ferraro explained to Hawley Council, April 10, that the church will put in a new handicap ramp on the Church Street side, correcting the pitch. The black top also crumbles and is unsafe. The sidewalk would be kept the same height as the parking lot and re-pitched toward Chestnut Street. A railing would be installed where the sidewalk is higher than the grass.

The parish would also like to designate handicapped parking only, on the Church Street side by the church. Ferraro said that they have a benefactor who is backing the project. The benefactor also asked for an engineer to improve the church parking lot.

The borough's sidewalk ordinance and parking regulations will be forwarded to Ferraro.

Also discussed:

• Concerning the Route 6 bridge project, Sanders related the PennDOT expects the project to be done in July, although the contract allowed until Labor Day. Mayor Kevin Hawk said the contractor isn't working while they wait for pre-cast dams to arrive. Sanders said they were told it would a two-week period.

• Thomas Sheridan offered financial documentation for the money left over from the 175th Hawley Borough Anniversary, in 2002. Sheridan was treasurer of the 175th committee; he asked that the funds be kept for the Bicentennial (in 2027).

Last month, Council was made aware that the bank would consider the account "abandoned" and turn the money over to the state. Council intervened to retain the balance, totaling $4,872.35.

The committee, Sheridan said, was loosely organized and wasn't registered or incorporated. The anniversary, he added, was very successful, given the funds they had left over. He asked that the money be kept in a CD designated for the next anniversary celebration.

• Borough Planning will be asked for guidance on how to limit off-premise wayfaring signs and kiosks, meant to direct visitors to businesses and other destinations in the town. Solicitor Robert Bernathy advised that the Borough should avoid proliferation of these type signs, noting this was a fundamental change in Borough policy which prohibited off-premise signs. As proposed, the ordinance would require a conditional use application and limit the signs to eight square feet. Elaine Herzog, of Council, advised the signs should be uniform. A maintenance agreement would also be needed.

• A certified letter was sent April 9 to the owner of the damaged, vacant house at 416 Penn Avenue. The owner has 30 days to address the damage, caused by a motor vehicle crash at the corner.

Another letter went to the owner of 270 Highland Avenue, a burned out structure. The owner since called and said the house will be boarded up. Deputy Fire Chief Eugene Krause interjected that the house is beyond repair and should come down.

The junk camper on Oakland Street was removed.

The owner of a dilapidated barn on Highland Street has not been identified. Krause indicated this structure was also an attractive nuisance.

• The fee for conditional use hearings was raised from $300 to $500. Part of the fee can be refunded if not all of it was needed to cover borough expenses.

  • Mayor Hawk reported that the Borough will participate in the PPL Wallenpaupack Emergency Action Plan exercise, which is set May 1-2. On the second day, the Borough will test the swing gate at the railroad tracks off Paupack Street. This is meant to hold back flood waters should the dam ever break. They also may test the flood gate that would be installed on Church Street at the Eddy Bridge, although there is concern about temporarily closing the Eddy Bridge while the Route 6 bridge project is underway.

• Solicitor Bernathy reported receiving a new franchise agreement from Blue Ridge Cable TV, for services in Hawley Borough. The two-year agreement was conditional on Blue Ridge paying what was owed for 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, which will total between $15,000 to $16,000, he said.

The fee paid to the Borough was raised from 1% to 3%.

• Hawley Police Department is planning a softball game to benefit Hawley Ambulance & Rescue Co.

• The Hawley Ambulance & Rescue Co. offered to paint the Borough flag pole, and to hoist a new US flag as well as a state flag.

• The mayor performed one wedding in March.

• Memorial Day Weekend parade may lineup on Columbus Avenue instead of Bingham Park, due to the bridge project. Ambulance Chief Brian Utegg offered use of the Hawley Ambulance land off Old Gravity Road.

• All but one landlord has complied with Landlord/Tenant permit requirements.

• Council approved switching electric companies to Ambit Energy. The saving are expected to amount to 19% on one bill, and 29% on the other. Credit is allowed if referral customers are found. Councilman Joseph Faubel abstained from voting because of family members involved in the company.

• Flyers will be delivered in town by the Fire Department reminding that houses need to display address numbers. Borough Hall also needs a number shown (94), Deputy Chief Krause said.

• Councilman John Robertson, Streets & Roads Chairman, encouraged businesses and building owners to keep their sidewalk to give Hawley an inviting impression.

• Block grant funding is sought to repave Pine Street and correct the drainage problem there.

• The Victorian style lamp post at Main & River, knocked over in a motor vehicle crash, has been replaced. The cost came to $5,990.

• The levy system is to be inspected by the state on July 13.

• Mayor Hawk thanked everyone who helped with the children's Easter party held at the Ritz. He everything went well "as far as I could see." Someone on Council quipped, "You mean from inside the Bunny head!"

Hawley Council meets on the second Wednesday at 7 p.m.