Depot Street, Clarks Summit project funds now available

By Meredith Colohan - For Abington Journal | October 13th, 2015 3:14 pm

CLARKS SUMMIT – Mayor Patty Lawler announced at the regular council meeting Oct. 7 the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for the borough’s Depot Street Project are now available, and the council may put the project out to bid in the coming months.

Lawler said she spoke with Lackawanna County Deputy Director of Operations and Economic Development Brenda Sacco Oct. 6 and that, “Our monies (for the Depot Street Project) are ready to be released as we speak.”

The Depot Street project has been on hold because the county could not release funds from the CDBG grant since 2014 because of an ongoing audit in Harrisburg.

Lackawanna County Community Relations Coordinator Gerard Hetman confirmed the funds are now available for the borough. “The red flag has been lifted,” he said, quoting Sacco.

“I want to thank Gerard and I want to thank our residents and our businesses because it’s been so many years. I also want to thank the commissioners. We look forward to this,” Mayor Lawler said.

The Depot Street Project overhaul includes plans to pave the street, create additional parking, and add new lighting and sidewalks.

Multiple members of the Abington Business and Professional Association (APBA) also attended the meeting hear the council’s recent discussions regarding changing the borough’s parking meter costs and times.

Everything Natural Owner Barry Kaplan suggested meters in the borough should be easy to use, at a reasonable cost for the size of Clarks Summit, and comparable to other communities. Kaplan also said shortening the time allotted to an hourly rate instead of two hours may prevent cars from taking up spots for an extended period of time.

“I understand the intent isn’t there for revenue. But if they are there, and we have to maintain them, there has to be revenue to support it,” Kaplan said.

Lawler and council member Vincent Cruciani both said $0.50 per hour for meter parking is a more appropriate rate for the borough.

Council member Herman Johnson said he thought the borough should get rid of the parking meters all together because of the cost of maintenance.

Lawler said that communities without meters usually charge for garbage pick-up, which Clarks Summit borough does not.

President Gerrie Carey said discussion will continue on the borough’s parking meters in the near future.

In other news, the mayor also announced Clarks Summit was named one of the 50 safest cities in Pennsylvania by SafeWise. Clarks Summit ranked 40th out of the 50 safest cities with a population of 5,000 people based on recent FBI data.

Lawler said the award is a showing of council’s commitment to the residents’ safety and the police department as a top priority.

“It’s an award that needs to be shared starting with our Police Chief Chris Yarns and our police officers, part-time and full-time, that serve with commitment and dedication…and to council for being so considerate and generous with the funding to the police department,” Lawler said.

By Meredith Colohan

For Abington Journal

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