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Chester County Press

Twin gateway islands planned for Chatham Village, board learns

05/09/2017 10:46AM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
Staff Writer

The inclusion of two gateway traffic islands with signage will soon welcome visitors on the north and south of Route 41 to historic Chatham Village, it was announced at the London Grove Board of Supervisors on May 3.
Stephen Fallon, a PennDot project manager for the Route 41 Chatham Gateway Project, introduced Rob Nuss of Erdman Anthony, who is serving as the consultant engineer on the project. Referring to an overhead view of the village, Nuss said that the north gateway island will be placed just south of the former Chatham Diner, and that the south gateway island will be placed just before the Chatham Methodist Church.
The project is scheduled to begin in July-August and completed by Thanksgiving, with all clean-up work slated to be completed by the end of the year. Route 41 will remain open during construction, and Nuss said that work will be restricted during morning and afternoon rush hour times.
The size of each median will be 9-feet wide at its widest spot, and about 100 feet in length, and each island will include its own green sign with yellow lettering that will welcome northbound and southbound visitors to Historic Chatham Village. Each island will include drought-resistant plantings that will be planted near each sign, and a solar spotlight that will be focused on each sign. The middle of the island will be made of stamped concrete to closely resemble river rocks.
The medians are intended to enhance the aesthetic quality of the village and will serve as the first attempt to introduce traffic-calming elements to a heavily-traveled road.
“When you come out of these rural areas, I don't think you realize you're in town until it's too late to slow down. If we can get drivers to slow down, there will be enough homes and trees that there won't [be an impetus] to step on the gas and go,” Nuss said.
The project is estimated at $970,000, 80 percent of which will be paid for by federal funding, and the remaining 20 percent by the state. 
Supervisor Dave Connors thanked PennDOT and Nuss for their continued support of the township's plan to improve the safety of the intersection.
“I don't want to lose sight of what the ultimate goal is – to make that intersection safe again,” he said. “This is a good first step, but we need to keep our eye on the ball and keep that intersection project moving, whenever it may be.”
Certified public accountant Jeff Kowalczyk gave the board a public audit account of the township's financial data, which he referred to as a “clean audit.”
“We found in our opinion that the financial statements were presented fairly, meaning that the revenues and expenses and cash balances were consistent with what our audit results saw,” Kowalczyk said.
He also mentioned that during the transition period in which the township changed its managers, that he did not see “any downturn in the quality of the internal controls related to the processing of transactions during that time.”
As of Dec. 31, 2016, Kowalczyk said the township's general fund had $839,000 in its balance; its capital projects fund had a $4.8 million balance; and its special revenue fund had a balance of $2.1 million.
“You as a township do utilize your various accounting funds set aside for a specific purpose to a larger degree than other townships your size, and I think it is to your benefit, because you do know that certain monies are there when you need them,” he added.
Supervisor Mike Pickel, who recently declared that he was not looking to pursue another term as supervisor, recommended that the supervisors and township financial director work with Kowalczyk on a quarterly basis, as a means of keeping the township's costs in check.
“We have seen that some of our real estate revenues have dropped, and we have been consistently increasing our expenditures, and while I've got about eight months left, I think you guys really need to get a hold on that,” Pickel said. “Because every month, we're buying more vehicles, we're adding more employees, but our revenues are not increasing. I don't want you to be in a position where you have to surprise the residents with a tax increase.”
In other township news, the board gave approval to the design of Eagle Scout Nate Hammond to have contractors install a rebound wall on the sports complex at Avon Grove High School, for the purpose of using it for lacrosse and soccer practice.
Hammond, a junior at the high school and a member of its lacrosse team, said that the 12-foot-high wall – which will have a three-foot-wide base – would help prevent damage to the middle school gym, which is currently being used for practice. The project, estimated at $6,000, will be paid for by several school-based and local organizations, and is slated to be constructed between the school's varsity baseball field and its practice fields. It received a seal of approval by engineer Robert T. MacIntosh, and its construction is currently out for bidding.
The board also approved the appointments of Jeff Simpson to the township's Uniform Code of Construction Appeals Board, and Nancy Dean to the township's Environmental Advisory Council.
Finally, the board accepted the resignation of board member Robert Weer, effective May 8. Weer was elected to a six-year term in Nov. 2013 which began on Jan. 1, 2014 and was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2019.The board agreed that it will begin a 30-day search for Weer's successor.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].