By Richard L. Gaw
In a unanimous decision by the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors, Peter Scilla was chosen to fill the post on the Board vacated by Warren Reynolds, for a six-month time period, beginning with his official swearing in on July 22. The Board's announcement was made at its July 1 meeting.
Prior to living in New Garden Township, Scilla lived in Ringoes, N.J., where he served on special committees in the community targeted toward education and planning. Prior to that, he lived in East Millstone, N.J., near New Brunswick, where he served as fire chief in the town for 15 years. Scilla has a manufacturing background, with much of it in pharmaceuticals, including 20 years spent at Johnson & Johnson. Locally, he is now heading up a global pharmaceutical supply firm.
Scilla was one of nine candidates who were vying for the position vacated by Reynolds on June 5, and one of three candidates interviewed by supervisors in a public session at the township building on June 26. During his interview before the Board, Scilla said that the greatest challenge the New Garden Board of Supervisors faces in the next few years is in managing the growth of the Route 41 corridor. He told the supervisors that given the increased traffic anticipated from the proposed White Clay Point retail complex, that particular attention will need to be paid to the feeder roads that connect with Route 41.
“The development of Route 41 is inevitable,” he said. “We need to look at a redesign plan, one that will influence future growth, as well as another plan to help grade us as a township.”
Scilla also called the newly-adopted 24-hour, seven-days-a-week trial program system now in place for the New Garden Township Police Department “long overdue,” and said that the township needs to explore its budget in order to expand the pilot program into one that is full-time.
He called the New Garden Airport “a well-run organization,” but said that the township, the owner of the field, should “not be in the airport business. How do we fund it so that it's not a burden to the taxpayers?”
In defining what the role of a supervisor, Scilla said that the position is one filled with challenges and competing interests. “It's important to make decisions based on what the right thing is for the township,” he said. “Finding a way of balancing things fiscally is paramount.”
Soon after his announcement to the post was made, Scilla admitted that a six-month window of time to effect change, “but I think I can hit the ground running. I am aware of a lot of the issues from having attended multiple board meetings for the last year-and-a-half. My primary goal is to provide some direction, especially as we come towards the formation of the budget at the end of the year.”
In other township business, the supervisors approved the part-time appointment of three officers to the New Garden Police Department. They are Michael King, a 25-year veteran of the Pennsylvania State Police; Philip Magorry, who had spent 25 years with the Newark (De.) City Police Department; and Pedro Melendez, who had previously been with the East Whiteland Township Police Department.
In other New Garden Police Department news, the Board voted in favor of securing a trailer adjacent to the current Police Department location on Route 41, which will serve as a temporary home for the entire department for the next 18 months, while work is being done to eliminate a mold problem in the department's permanent location.
Township Solicitor Vince Pompo informed the supervisors that he and interim Township manager Spence Andress had recently had a discussion with representatives from the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) – the owners of the proposed White Clay Point complex on Route 41 – about the current condition and future plans for the mushroom houses on Sunny Dell and Reynolds roads, which proper the property of the proposed retail area. Pompo said that representatives from PREIT agreed to provide a proposed action to the township, in order to describe how they will address these structures both short- and long-term, and to ask the township to consider these plans.
Pompo cleared up the question as to whether there was an agreement between PREIT and the township to have the houses demolished. In truth, Pompo said that the agreement the township made with PREIT did not require that the buildings be demolished.
“The agreement with PREIT required that those mushroom houses be abandoned by a particular date, but that there was not a date for demolition,” Pompo said. “We're trying to work with them, in order to find out what to do.”