Meshoppen Council Passes Budget, Accepts Member Resignation

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The new playground apparatus in Meshoppen Community Park has been installed and is ready for use. After months of wrangling over where it would be installed and how exactly it would be paid for, borough council members are now being scrutinized for the fact that it was installed so close to the ball park.

Photo and story by Rick Hiduk

A total budget of about $525,000 was approved by the Meshoppen Borough Council on Monday evening during their regular monthly meeting. The general account stands at about $292,000. The rest, according to borough secretary Phyllis Adams, is the borough’s water and sewer budgets, plus an account in which state funds are managed. Also approved was a tax increase proposed last month from 9.13 mills to an even 10.0, which includes a slight increase for the fire company.

There has been core boring in the area of Welles and Auburn streets, suggesting to borough officials that somebody is considering new construction near the intersection. A rumor is circulating that a Dollar General store might be built there, but borough council president John Bunnell could not confirm the hearsay, noting that he has seen no record of a property transfer.

Council accepted the written resignation from board member Herb Bevan, who has not attended any meetings since the summer. Cindy Cona, who spearheaded the park playground project and coordinates Meshoppen’s Community Day each summer, has expressed interest in filling the vacancy. Bunnell said that she will likely be appointed by the board, then run in next year’s election to officially fill out Bevan’s term.

A recent rain event revealed that the water issues on Route 6 at the bottom of Meshopany Ridge Road persist despite efforts by PennDOT to rectify the situation. “They attempted to fix it,” Bunnell noted. “They worked a whole weekend on it. They made it better, but it it’s not perfect.” He was told that the crew discovered a slush pipe that came to a dead end. It might have been originally fed into old terracotta pipes that have since been crushed by the weight of the highway.

Dick Salsman, who started a ball park committee with Herb Bevan in an attempt to make the field playable again and applicable to little league guidelines, expressed his dismay to council that the new playground equipment was installed in line with the home plate and first base.

Plans were to have it installed near the swing sets (below) where a metal firetruck climbing implement sat for years.

According to Bunnell, the crew from River Valley Recreation determined that the new apparatus would be too close to the swing set, which is a relic from the old Meshoppen school. The first recalculation of the footprint formula would have put it into the basketball court, so Bunnell and council member Jack Vaow told the crew to install it on the other side of the roadway that leads to Meshoppen Creek.

Salsman suggested that the only solution for the ball park committee at this point is to reconfigure the field and move the dugouts.

Hopefully they can work around it some other way because that’s where it is for the moment,” Bunnell said of the playground equipment.

The buyouts of flood-prone homes on Church Street have finally begun. Residents there began moving out over the past week, and closings began on Monday.

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