PALMYRA TWP. (Wayne) - Plans are underway for funding and the construction of a replica post 1850 canal boat in Palmyra Township. At the township April meeting, Sally Talaga from the Wayne County Historical Society spoke about updates happening at the D&H Canal Park at Lock 31 in Hawley along Rt. 6, including a post 1850 canal boat pavilion measuring 93 feet by 14.5 to be built. She described the boat as “very thin and long” since the society wants to be “historically correct” for their latest project.

Stakes have been put in the ground of the canal basin outlining the dimensions of the boat and expected position. Since the exterior of the c. 1820’s house at Lock 31 was renovated five years ago, Talaga said much is happening at the historic site, from people walking to cross country skiing as well as photo shoots and more. The restoration is at a halt though, because of funding, despite attempting multiple times to receive grants from the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission.

If a grant is secured, restoration on the interior of the building would begin next year, said Talaga. Grants though, are “harder and harder to get.”

To raise enough for the boat pavilion, she is currently applying for a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) for the fourth time. The project has been considered for four years, which is as long as the grants have been sought. So far, $75,000 has been raised, but an additional $25,000 is needed.  Costs rose in the time it took for the $75,000 to be secured.

The replica won’t be an actual boat on water, but it will act as a pavilion to provide shelter to park visitors, educational programs and house equipment for maintenance of the property. With the project, there is a possibility of small performances, which could create revenue, which Talaga said is always needed. If funding is received, then providing light at the site could be possible, which would allow for the park to be open after dusk. With the funding as well, the American Disability Act would extend beyond the park’s current ADA-compliant sidewalk, with a ramp into the lower area of the canal bed.

To increase their chances of receiving the grant, Talaga asked the supervisors for a letter of support, since the society isn’t a municipality. Of the $75,000 that has been acquired from a grant, it must be used by June 30, 2019. The latest try for the grant would be the society’s final attempt she said.

Since the site was restored, there have been annual canal festivals and this year, the sixth will happen Saturday, August 18 starting at 10 a.m. Talaga said the event has continued to be a success as many attend and managing traffic has become a challenge for volunteers, so a professional safety traffic company has been hired. Volunteers maintain the grounds and on May 26 there will be the annual yard sale, which acts as the society’s largest fundraiser.

A grant has already been written to address the interior of the house through the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission, which can only be used for historical structures, Talaga said. The pavilion is not considered eligible for this grant because it is not considered a park improvement.

Supervisor Chairman Pete Steffen, in agreement with Supervisor Joe Kmetz and Bill Hamby, said he would be “happy to write a letter of support.” As for work on the interior of the Canal Park house thus far, Talaga said it has been brought to what is believed to be original materials within the building.

Also discussed:

Since she was unable to give the report at the March meeting, Secretary Treasurer Lois Powderly reported the totals for February and March. As of February 28, in the general checking account there was $188,611.41; in the state road account there was $102,658.97; in the building code account there was $35,853.32 with $5.00 remaining in the sewer account. All total thereis was a total of $327,128.70 and with certificates of deposit the total was $380,457.32.

For February, income was $15,337.03, which Powderly said was because of the cable franchise, which provided the township with $13,000. In February, gross salaries were $6,374.58 with interest in the state road account being $93.38 and the building code account permits for February totaled $765, with $5.00 remaining in The Dime Bank because of the sewer project last year.

Powderly also reported that as of March 31 in the general checking account there was $174,795.14; with $171,187.08 being in the state road account and $35,868.12 in the building code account and $5.00 remaining in The Dime Bank from the sewer project last year. The total she said is $381,855.35, but with the certificates of deposit, the total was $435,183.96.

Income for March Powderly said was $2,961.07; but salaries for March totaled $6,309.01; payroll summary for January through March was $17,429.91; interest earned in the state road account for March was $180.47; with permits in the building code account totaling $514.50; and $5.00 remained in The Dime Bank from the sewer project last year.

Hawley Borough Police Officer Raymond Paquette reported that during the month of March the officers responded to: two criminal mischiefs, three citations were issued relative to vehicles with three warnings given; and all other miscellaneous incidents were 33. The officers traveled 342 miles and worked a total of 28 hours.

From the Hawley Volunteer Fire Department, Deputy Chief Gene Krause reported that the volunteers responded to 32 calls in March that included: 10 in Hawley Borough, 14 in Palmyra Township, one in Palmyra Pike along with seven mutual aid calls with two to Lakeville, two to Tafton, one to Seelyville, one to Blooming Grove and one to Central. Many of the calls were due to the weather and because of that, Krause said March was likely one of the volunteers’ busiest months that he can remember.

Zoning Officer Paul Natale reported that three permits were issued in March.  

Progress is happening with the plans for the expansion of the township building, Steffen said. Grimm Construction was the only company to submit a bid for the project at just over $298,000. As of yet, Steffen hasn’t heard from the company as to when they would begin, but because of the contract they have 180 days to complete the project that started March 23. Now, Steffen said the project would be “forthcoming” with work happening at the township building.

The next Palmyra Township (Wayne County) supervisors’ meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the township offices on Oak Street, Marble Hill.