Fees set for sidewalk cafes in Lock Haven

LOCK HAVEN — “What other mayors, other councils could not do, we did.”

With those words, Lock Haven Mayor William E. Baney III thanked City Council for supporting his effort to open the door to sidewalk cafes.

Cafes are now allowed in the central business district, and the first permits can be issued Monday, April 10.

At the meeting last night, Council took its second vote, the final one required, on an ordinance that allows and regulates such cafes. Only minor changes were reportedly made in some wording, as recommended by the city’s solicitor, and the ordinance passed with no discussion.

Council then set the fees for the cafes, also with no discussion. The first permit will cost each restaurant $150 for the year. After that, permits may be renewed for $70 per year.

STREET PAVING

The city will receive bids April 27 for paving on three streets: South Fairview (from Bellefonte Avenue to Peach Street), South Jones (from Maple Street to the end), and West Third (from North Highland to Barton Street).

The contract should be awarded May 1. All three projects are estimated to cost $388,309, and Community Development Block Grant dollars will pay for all of that except for $61,208 from the city’s liquid fuels funds.

Councilmen Ted Forbes, Richard L. Conklin, and Council Vice President Stephen L. Stevenson all spoke out against the possibility that block grants would be decreased.

“I am just appalled at the federal movement to reduce CDBG funding,” Conklin said. “We need that money here. We would be at a standstill without CDBG funds.”

The city uses those dollars for projects like paving, parks, creating handicapped-accessible curb cuts in sidewalks, Stevenson said. Without them, “we’ll be breaking even, just treading water,” he said.

The Pennsylvania Municipal League has already “started the protest wheel rolling,” he added, and Forbes urged city staff to comply with PML’s request and send examples of successful city projects that block grants have funded.

The city recently received its 2017 liquid fuels funding allocation from PennDOT of $260,587, a little more than originally expected.

A Keystone Grant of $44,445 also was approved recently. The money is half of that needed to replace windows, lighting, and the glass entrance doors at Ross Library to improve energy efficiency. The other half of the money is coming from the library’s budget.

STREET LIGHTS

PPL is expected to replace about 48 old, green, metal streetlight poles on Monday, March 30.

The project was to start in February, according to City Manager Richard W. Marcinkevage, but the poles are so deteriorated, the project had to be expanded and the date pushed back.

City residents should watch for temporary parking restrictions where the work is being done, Marcinkevage added.

The mayor remarked on the pole that fell at 347 E. Main St., in front of Hair Studio 35, and the city manager said it was one of the ones scheduled to be replaced.

OTHER MATTERS

The project to acquire more control of air space around Piper Memorial Airport will start with a survey, council heard.

Surveyors will be around next month, and they will ask permission to enter properties on Bald Eagle and Church streets toward Hanna Street. Property owners have received a letter to that effect, Marcinkevage said. The surveyors will have proper identification, he said.

The mayor said he did an informal survey of parking meters and found a failure rate of about 10 percent. He recommended the meter enforcement personnel bag failed meter heads until they can be fixed.

The reasons for the failures aren’t readily known, Marcinkevage said, but the batteries may be dying.

The mayor also noted that Lock Haven University’s wrestlers did well this season, and he welcomed Chris Davis, CEO of Loot Crate Inc., to town. The online retailer is setting up its East Coast Distribution Center in the former Piper Aircraft Corp. assembly building and is expected to create jobs.

Conklin responded to a letter to the editor in The Express community newspaper from a Salvation Army volunteer about the increased parking meter rates. He said there are plenty of free parking spaces close to the Salvation Army citadel that volunteers could choose.

He also asked council to consider not moving the police department into the new city garage, which he described as being on the edge of Lock Haven. He recommended council create better space for the department in City Hall, where it is currently headquartered, and keep the police force in the center of the city.

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