Penn Township seeks good news on intersection funding
By Steven Hoffman
The Penn Township Board of Supervisors discussed improvements to the busiest intersection in the township at the April 1 meeting.
Curtis Mason, the chairman of the Penn Township Board of Supervisors said that some of the exterior work on the Red Rose Inn, which is situated at the intersection of Route 796 and Old Baltimore Pike, can't proceed until the township knows what PennDOT's plans are for the intersection.
“We can’t tear parts off until we know [what PennDOT plans for the roadway],” he explained. “They all tell us ‘good job,’ but no one is committing.”
Mason said that although most people don’t realize it because they can’t see it, they have been working on restoring and reinforcing walls in the basement. “That’s really all we can do for now. We have the right to take it down now, but we don’t want to make a mistake. It is important for us to know where the roadway will shift.”
Township engineer Kevin Matson was more optimistic. He reported that State Sen. Andy Dinniman had called a meeting with the central office in Harrisburg. Dinniman said the intersection was recognized as a top priority, and funding is available for the project.
Supervisor Bill Finnen quickly responded that he was told just the opposite. “They told me we aren’t even on any list and should get funds from local businesses,” he said.
Matson replied, “Right now, two funding sources are being pursued. One is PennDOT’s Highway Occupancy Permit (HOP) Assist program. They are meeting again on [April 30]. I think there’s good news.”
In other business, Mason suggested that they look into having the zoning officer start going through the township’s outdated zoning ordinance and “identify real problems.”
Skip McGrew, chairman of the planning commission, agreed with Mason’s suggestion. “Working with [Scott Moran] would be useful because he’s the one who has to enforce it,” he said.
“Scott said it’s helpful to do it in chunks like that. He’s done it before with other townships,” explained Karen Versuk the township’s information officer. She added that she would contact Moran to start the process.
When the discussion shifted to Penn’s roadways and which ones should be on the list to resurface this year, Finnen told his fellow board members, “It’s time this board of supervisors went out with the roadmaster and made a complete tour of the township to look [the roads] over like we used to do. We haven’t done it in three or four years.”
“I’m not bragging, began roadmaster Skip Elvin, “But it you look at our roads compared to other townships, they are in pretty good shape.”
Penn’s appointee to Southeastern Chester County Refuse Authority (SECCRA’s) Board of Directors, Denis Newbold, made a brief presentation to the supervisors requesting that they renew SECCRA’s charter. The board voted unanimously to renew the charter, which expires in 2018. It was noted that Finnen was one of the original signatories to SECCRA’s charter in 1968. The board and Newbold also credited the late Tom Sinsheimer, who while acting in Newbold’s capacity, was instrumental in making SECCRA the effective, well-run operation it is today.
Versuk reported on planned events at Penn’s park. Plans and fundraising for the flagship event, the picnic and wellness fair in late September, are already well underway. “We have quite a few gold sponsors coming in for the picnic already,” she said.
Versuk also discussed plans for some other events with the supervisors. Two of the perennial favorites, a Halloween event and Christmas in the park, will both continue, but with some modifications. “We are going to add a ‘seek and find’ using orange and black eggs filled with candy for the Halloween event.” Versuk added, “We are going to scale back the Christmas event a little. There will be no decorating of trees in the park.”
Noting that there is a $7,000 budget for park events (excluding the picnic) Versuk proposed an additional event – a movie night in late June. While not opposed to the idea, the supervisors had some questions about pricing for the screen and movie, as well as the number of potential attendees.