Water issues discussed in Orwigsburg

Orwigsburg Borough Council held a business meeting on Wednesday, May 4 to discuss ongoing issues in the community.

At the top of the list is water runoff and flooding on streets and properties. Residents of the section of the borough affectionately known as Mud Hollow attended the meeting to express their dismay at the lack of response to flooding issues over the past three decades.

The properties, located near Oak Dale Estates and the Walborn Playground, were inundated with flooding issues.

Jeff Rarick of North Franklin Street told council he had complained for 32 years of water problems on his property. He brought a homemade poster showing the location of swales, pipes and floodplains around his house.

“Over the years, four borough managers have come to my house, including (current manager Randy) Miller, and they all agreed there was a problem,” Rarick said, “but nothing happened. been done.”

Much of the overtopping is caused by drainage ditches and swales originally constructed on the Oak Dale Estates property. These have been filled with sediment and debris over the years causing the water to find other routes to the creek below.

Miller informed Rarick that with the help of engineers and the borough attorney, he had drafted a letter to the owners of Oak Hill Estates asking them to return the property to the condition it existed when it was built.

Neighbor Joseph McGlinchey attended the meeting to support Rarick.

“Jeff (Rarick) takes great care of his property, and what has he got in 32 years?” McGlinchey asked. “The same thing I’ve had in 36 years – ‘we’ll watch, we’ll get there’.”

McGlinchey went on to complain that money was spent on community niceties like veterans signs and the plaza, but not on necessities like the streets where people live.

Police and firefighters

Fire Chief Jesse Zimmerman reported 13 calls for April and a year-to-date total of 70. He reminded the public that the fire company continues to hold weekly raffles online.

Bob Shapell, South Liberty Street, asked Zimmerman why the fire company would consider building a new facility on land that is a floodplain. (The fire company is requesting a $50,000 grant for a feasibility study.)

“Why should we pay to do a feasibility study when we already know it’s a wetland? Shappell asked.

President Rick Bubeck responded that the money for the feasibility study comes from a grant.

“I understand it’s a subsidy, but where does this money come from?” Shappell asked. “It’s our tax money that pays for these subsidies.”

Borough director’s report

Miller informed the council that Ritchie Logging and Sawmill are still awaiting a signed contract from the owner of a property on Second Mountain Road, although a verbal agreement has been reached.

The borough continues to seek grants to help with infrastructure and community projects with the help of U.S. Representative Dan Meuser. Miller recommends that the borough lease a new phone system from Frazer Advanced Information Systems for $585/month.

Lawyer’s report

The owner of the proposed Blue Mountain Village, The Rhodes Company, informed council that it is coordinating its efforts with PennDOT and the Department of Environmental Protection and hopes to resolve permit issues within the next six months. The property is opposite the former Madeline’s Restaurant on East Market Street.

Datte informed council that the process of abandoning Walters Alley is progressing. The borough will notify citizens and advertise for 30 days before a decision.
Datte also recommended that the borough use a portion of the bond financing proceeds for borough and water projects.

Capital improvements

While residents may not see the many improvements the borough is undertaking, Bubeck assured residents that there is a lot going on. Work on Industrial Drive continues. PennDOT requires a preliminary right-of-way plan to include property parcels, tabs, and deed information. PennDOT also requires an environmental site assessment and a wetland identification and delineation survey. A soft excavation is underway to uncover the existing water pipes along the causeway.

Basic drainage work on Margaret Avenue is expected to begin next month, along with storm upgrades on North Street. Disabled ramps have been included in the North Wayne Street project which runs from East Mifflin Street to East Cherry Street. Stormwater projects continue on North Street and North Wayne Street.

Veterans Memorial Update

Kevin Richards, ARRO, informed council that construction work is underway on the Veterans Memorial Building. The task force selected AV contractor Moyer Electronic to continue the work. The masons of Orwigsburg help to work and to restore the clock of the hearth.

The Board approved the payment of $63,253 to Miler Brothers. A change order has been approved for additional drywall insulation and paint in the amount of $2,460. A change order in the amount of $3,593 for the repair of a sewer line is pending review by an engineer. The majority of the money will be repaid through an approved grant. Work on the memorial building is expected to be completed by the end of October.

Events to come

Jason Jones Day of Caring is set for Friday, May 13 with projects planned across the region.

On May 21 and 22, the annual Fishing Rodeo will take place at Fisher’s Dam from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The community garage sale is scheduled for May 21 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants can register on the Orwigsburg Facebook page.

The Memorial Day Parade will take place May 30 starting at 8 a.m., along with the Lions Club Chicken BBQ. The barbecue, which will be held at the Memorial Building, will be drive-in only—–no seats will be offered this year. Please follow the signage.

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