Clarks Summit resident concerned with safety of rain garden at park

By Robert Tomkavage -

CLARKS SUMMIT — Borough resident Tom Hendrian, of Carnation Drive, addressed the council with safety concerns regarding water buildup in an unfinished rain garden at Carnation Park.

“I drove by the other day and it was filled with two or three feet of water, with no fence around it,” Hendrian said. “It’s right next to the basketball court and my suggestion is that it should be fenced.”

The borough broke ground on the garden, which is expected to slow, filter and purify significant portions of stormwater running through the park, last September.

“We have a lot of plants on order,” Borough Manager Virginia Kehoe said. “ As soon as the plants get in, you’re not going to see two feet of water. The water will be moving through it and it should be a very race occasion that any amount sits in there for any time.”

Mayor Herman Johnson announced the police department is scheduled to put caution tape around the area until the project is completed.

Councilman Dave Jenkins relayed concerns from residents regarding speeding on Winola Road and asked Chief of Police Chris Yarns about the ability for the department to partner with South Abington Township on an aggressive driving grant to ramp up enforcement.

“The grant allows that and I’ve spoken to Chief (Robert) Gerrity about it,” Yarns said. “It’s a good possibility and I’ll check into it.”

Jenkins also questioned Yarns about the department’s plans for commercial vehicle enforcement now that officer Robert Orzalek, the only officer who was certified, has retired.

“We’re losing out on a lot of money that is going through our town every day,” Jenkins said.

According to Johnson, memos have been posted in the department’s office since last year for any full-time officer who would like to go through the classes to become certified, but no one has taken the offer.

“I feel it’s a disservice to the community,” Jenkins said. “If nobody volunteers to go, I think it’s management’s prerogative to appoint somebody to go.”

Borough solicitor Kevin Hayes plans to review the collective bargaining agreement to determine if the department has that authority. Johnson and Yarns also plan to discuss options and will report back to the council during the July meeting.

Hayes announced members of the council are expected to vote on whether to approve a revised parking ordinance, which would increase fines for non-meter parking violations from $15 to $25, during next month’s meeting. Parking meeting violations would remain at $5.

According to Hayes, the fine has not been raised since 2001.

Members of the council also plan to vote during the July meeting on whether to enter into a joint cooperation agreement with Clarks Green Borough on an emergency management plan.

The borough’s next regular meeting will be held July 11 instead of July 4, due to the holiday.

By Robert Tomkavage

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage