FACTORYVILLE — Several borough residents addressed the borough council at its Feb. 14 meeting with concerns regarding boisterous parties on College Avenue that have extended into the early morning hours, including on weekdays.
Wanda Sickler would like to see a police presence during the times the parties are ongoing.
“I think we should focus on Friday, Saturday and Tuesdays from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.,” she said. “Those are our witching hours. That’s when everything happens. I appreciate them being in town all the time, but I don’t need to see them at 1:30 a.m. I think we need to focus on where our problems are to deter future problems later.”
Sickler believes members of the council need to take steps to keep the parties in check due to a shift in the demographics of the town.
“A lot of the homes that were housing families are now turning into rental properties,” Sickler said. “It’s a continuous thing. We can’t stop it from happening, but we need to figure out how we’re going to keep the community safe. I think we need to change our method of thinking. There needs to be some kind of regulations and organization to the rentals.”
Kathleen O’Boyle witnessed a fight on College Avenue at 2:30 a.m. on a Thursday and believes the parties are spiraling out of control.
“I’m consistently being woken,” she said. “We’ve had it. 69 College Avenue is a nuisance house.”
Susan Kern, another College Avenue resident, called the Dalton and state police due to loud music on a recent Saturday evening.
According to Kern, there was a lull for about 15-20 minutes after the Dalton police responded before the party started back up until she called the state police after 1 a.m.
“Everything is documented,” Kern said. “This is ridiculous.”
Per borough solicitor Paul Litwin, Factoryville altered its disorderly gathering ordinance this past summer to avoid paying penalties.
“We used to have an ordinance modeled after Bloomsburg’s that allowed us to try to make the landlords more responsible if they didn’t act when certain occurrences happened on their properties,” he said. “Its been unconstitutional in Pennsylvania and municipalities have been paying damages for enforcing those types of ordinances, so we repealed ours.”
Litwin stressed the police need to be notified every time there is possible criminal activity taking place in the borough.
“When somebody is misbehaving, the only have to deal with them is to charge them with the crime they are violating,” he said. “The police have to be called every time; that’s the answer. Sometimes they will be able to catch them committing a crime and sometimes they won’t but, in most cases, they will be able to break up the party.”
Litwin added that he will reach out to Keystone College’s in-house solicitor to discuss how the borough and college can work together to solve some of the problems. He also believes saturation patrols that include the local police, state police and county detective may help reduce the number of large, rowdy gatherings.
Grant writer Sadie Rozenburg announced the borough is applying for a grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to defray the costs of building a new lagoon with updated infrastructure at the sewer authority plant. The grant would cover all but approximately $73,000 of the $484,34 total project cost.
According to Rozenburg, the borough is also applying for a $5,000 Marcellus Legacy Fund mini grant, through Wyoming County, to upgrade the electricity at Christy Mathewson Park and a $10,000 grant from Williams Gas to purchase materials for outdoor events, including a stage and tent.
Borough manager Mary Ellen Buckbee believes the stage area would allow the borough to host other events similar to the Christmas Market held this past December.
“These types of events are an interesting way to bolster the economic development of the town,” Buckbee said.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.