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Chester County Press

Oxford Borough Council discusses biking and hiking trails

12/15/2020 12:41PM ● By Steven Hoffman
Oxford Borough Council listened intently to Rachael Griffith, the Trails and Open Space Planner  from Chester County Planning Commission, at the Dec. 7 council meeting. Griffith filled council in on proposals to add bike lanes and hiking trails through southern Chester County that would reach all the way to the Maryland line.
Griffith said the major difficulty at the moment is funding. However, since this would be a multi-municipality project, it is hoped the project can gain some traction for the funding that would be required. Since the project is still in planning phase a variety of options were discussed.
One option is a trail along Route 1. This would involve establishing a trail that starts along Route 472 and goes through Oxford. This trail would come in on Lincoln Street to bring traffic into businesses in Oxford and extend down to Nottingham.
Another option is turning the sidewalk on Route 472 into a multi-use trail.
Griffith explained where funding sources might come from. “There is transportation funding available through federal grants,” she said. “Funding from grants for local municipalities, or PennDOT, might also help with markings for bike lanes and shared road markings.”
Council also discussed the diversity of transportation in the borough, including Amish buggies and how that would play in the project.
It was also hoped that his project could provide more connections to Lincoln University, to encourage a closer relationship between the borough and the university.
Pauline Garcia-Allen, grant consultant from ECON Partners, gave borough council an update on grants. Allen proposed a change to retainer fee changing it from monthly to hourly. She will put together a chart showing how that might work.
Garcia-Allen told council that their services deal specifically with public funds with one sponsor. “We are not health and human services,” she explained. “Our recommendation would be to speak with Pat Bokovitz at the Department of Community and Economic Development to discuss the projects you are planning. We can always help with that communication, but we wouldn’t necessarily be your best option to work on those grants.”
It was decided that John Schaible, the director of public works, and Arlene Harrison, interim borough manager would meet with Garcia-Allen and come back to Council in January with more information. 
Kent Morey, from the engineering firm SSM, presented a brief summary of the MS 4 program to council. MS4 is a municipal separate storm sewer system. It is a publicly owned conveyance or system of conveyances, including but not limited to streets, ditches, catch basins, curbs, gutters, and storm drains, that are designed or used for collecting or conveying stormwater and that discharges to surface waters of the state.
The MS4 program focuses on managing discharges into the waters of the Commonwealth by educating and implementing proper control measures and best management practices (BMPs). Total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) are in place to reduce pollutants in impaired waterways so that they meet water quality standards.
Morey is reviewing the storm water system within the borough. He will be working with Schaible and they will report back to council in the new year.
The borough will be dealing with waters that go into the Big Elk Creek, Little Elk Creek, Tweed Creek and Muddy Run/Octoraro Creek.
In other business, Schaible told council, “Leaf pick-up in the borough is over for this year. We picked up 18 loads this year.” Schaible added that public works will pick up leaves that are placed in biodegradable bags and placed curbside. He also informed council that the Broad Street project is stopping for this year and will resume when weather permits. 
“I am reviewing pay application number two,” he said. “We still have a few outstanding issues.”
Public works employees decked the streets with Christmas lights during torrential rain. 
Council president Peggy Russell asked Schaible to thank all those employees who braved the weather during that process. 
A motion to withdraw from the Joint Municipal Agreement with East Nottingham Township for police services for the park along Locust Street was tabled. Council approved a motion for an agreement n the amount of $59,411 between Union Fire Company No. 1and the Borough of Oxford for 2021.
Council also approved a motion for an agreement between the Union Fire Company No. 1 ambulance division and the Borough of Oxford in the amount of  $36,797.
Borough Council reluctantly accepted the resignation of Mary Lou Baily from the Oxford Planning Commission . Russell thanked Baily for her dedicated service to the borough.
Council member Mary Higgins said they currently do not have the required number of persons on the Planning Commission and are looking for replacements so the Commission can continue its work. 
Council approved the reappointment of Andrew Atkinson for a six-year term, and James McLeod for a four-year term to the Civil Service Commission.
Bethany Atkinson was approved to serve on the Vacancy Board for 2021.
Parley Hess was appointed to the Oxford Area Sewer Authority as an Oxford Borough representative.
A special assignment of fire police personnel to West Nottingham was approved by council.
Interim borough manager Arlene Harrison told Council that the Workplace Safety Committee was renewed. This will save the Borough 5 percent on the cost of workers compensation insurance.
Harrison also said that the borough was reimbursed $20,000 for installing electrical chargers in the multi-modal transportation Center under the Driving PA Forward program.
Mayor Phil Harris said he has spoken with a number of investors about downtown properties, and that he has shown the former borough hall to interested investors as well.
Harris also advised council that the Oxford Police Department is working on the annual Christmas Toy Drive. Lighthouse Youth Center and the Neighborhood Services Center are also continuing their drives to collect toys and gifts.
Council will review and discuss the budget for 2021 at the next meeting on Dec. 21.