Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Out With The Old, In With 2016

While the seasons don’t seem to have varied much around here this year, a number of changes did come our way in 2015, with more headed our way for 2016. Some are positive, and for others, the jury is still out. 

·        With relatively little fanfare, the cloverleaf intersection at Trooper Road and 422 was completed and opened. Outdated when it opened back in the early 80’s, not having a full interchange led to extra traffic being funneled onto Egypt Road as cars made their way to the Oaks interchange in order to be able to head westbound on 422.  About ten years ago, representatives from several local townships, including LP, went to Washington to ask for money to be appropriated to complete the interchange (as well as widen 422 and complete Sullivan’s bridge, under construction now). Now complete, it’s open, and traffic appears to be flowing better through Audubon with less congestion at rush hours. Hallelujah! 
·        Repairs to the Arcola Road Bridge are slated to be completed and the bridge re-opened to traffic no later than July 5, 2016. Given the warm fall we’ve had thus far, and the flurry of recent activity (crews were spotted working on the beams for the decking on Christmas Eve!), and presuming weather stays relatively mild and/or dry early in 2016, it’s a real possibility we may see the barricades removed early, sometime next spring. Fingers crossed!

·        In a stunning upset, for the first time ever, the Methacton School Board is now controlled by Democrats. The losing incumbents had been entertaining the possibility of closing an elementary school or two due to declining enrollment and projected higher pension costs on the horizon as an alternative to raising taxes, but the CARE (Community Advocates for Responsible Education) team disputed all of that, and took issue with the manner in which the school board was conducting its business.
CARE, which claimed to be bipartisan despite being primarily Democrat in political registration and orientation, and despite receiving primarily Democrat party funding, now has a voting majority on the school board. While I’m trying to keep an open mind and hope they are approaching the tasks before them grounded in reality, I suspect we will find ourselves needing to hold onto our wallets more than ever in 2016.
·        Speaking of Methacton, after decades of stalling and delays, we finally got a new turf football field constructed, bringing Methacton into the same era as most local school districts’ athletic programs. Available for play just as the current school year began, making this project a reality was the culmination of hard work and serious fundraising by dozens of people. While there is some evidence that turf fields contribute to more sports injuries, time will tell as to how that plays out at Methacton.  
·        After a 39-year career in law enforcement, LP Police chief, Francis “Bud” Carroll, appointed as chief in LP in 2000, is retiring. Stepping into his big shoes as incoming chief is Bud’s second-in-command, Lt. Stan Turtle. Many of our veteran officers have retired in the last two to three years, all after distinguished careers serving in Lower Providence, but this is a de facto ‘changing of the guard’. Best wishes, Bud, in your well-deserved retirement. Perhaps I’ll see you around down at the courthouse in Judge Ferman’s courtroom.
·        Bud’s Bar (also known as the historic Jack’s Tavern, and no relation to the aforementioned Bud Carroll), which stands at the intersection of Egypt/Park Avenue/Pawlings Road, has long been closed and become something of a dilapidated eyesore. One of the limitations of the property is the small lot size and the zoning, which results in a negative building envelope requiring numerous waivers for anything viable to be built or operate there. 

      Since having the bar repainted in 2011 as part of my campaign for township supervisor, I've been contacted from time to time by several of the real estate agents carrying the listing, with clients interested in the property and hoping to marry the two. Several interested clients wanted the possibility of a drive-through, and moved onto other properties in different communities when told that was off the table by ordinance (along with all the other challenges that property represents). 
Much to the township’s credit, they voted this month to authorize advertisement of a Zoning Ordinance Amendment revising Audubon VC Village Commercial District (in which Bud’s Bar is located) to permit facilities with drive-through services as a conditional use. Our township solicitor noted that the ordinance would permit this usage just in this portion of the Village Commercial District, which already has several drive-throughs existing on nearby commercial properties. Both the Township’s Planning Commission and the Montgomery County Planning Commission reviewed the proposed amendment and surfaced no issues, making the supervisors more comfortable with it.  If passed after public hearing, it gives the Township the ability to evaluate, on a case-by-case basis, applications for use of the property that contain a request for a drive-through and decide whether it works for the requested use on a given property. 

I think this signals a realistic approach by the Board of Supervisors to try to get a viable business in that spot. The alternative is that businesses will continue to bypass the location due to the numerous challenges and restrictions, and Bud’s will continue to deteriorate until the only viable option is to demolish it. Hopefully an interested business will come along that’s willing and able to afford to purchase and rehabilitate the building, and the Township will be amenable to making that happen.

As for me, 2015 brought new wheels and a terrific new guy into my life, so I haven’t had as much time to write as I would have liked, but I’ll be back at it full force in 2016. I hope your holidays were as fantastic as mine were (both kids were home, including my daughter, who lives down South) and that, like Lower Providence and Methacton, your New Year is full of wonderful developments too.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Bridge Envy

You could be forgiven for thinking that founding father and American Revolution-era author Thomas Paine must have been inching along in traffic on a stiflingly hot August day, late for an appointment, when he uttered his famous quote “These are the times that try men’s souls”.

Literary references aside, local traffic jams caused by road construction, paving, sewer line installations, roadside power line upgrades, and numerous bridge replacement projects – all more or less taking place at the same time - are testing motorists’ good will and patience this summer as many LP residents find themselves going nowhere fast when attempting to get to work, shuttle kids to camp and athletic events, get to the doctor or dentist, or run even the smallest of errands.

We’re all used to road projects. It’s for good reason that a running joke is that the Pennsylvania state tree is a traffic cone. We all understand intellectually that road and infrastructure improvements are an inconvenient but necessary part of life. But locally, two major projects taking place simultaneously – the replacement of the Arcola Road Bridge (closed in August 2013) between Lower and Upper Providences, and the completion of the cloverleaf at Trooper Road and 422 - are the primary culprits, and other projects affect the detours and secondary routes we all use to avoid them.

Over in neighboring Chester County, the announcement in April of the commencement of work to the Pickering Creek Dam bridge on Route 23 near where it intersects with Pawlings Road – the main route from the southern end of LPT into Phoenixville and Valley Forge – has only added to the delays and frustration.

So, what’s a community to do when they aren’t fortunate enough to have former county commissioner and new PennDOT chief Leslie Richards embedded in the community as a resident capable of getting a bridge (really two culverts side by side) engineered, rebuilt and reopened in her locale in a mere five months? (detailed here)

The Pickering Dam bridge, like the ARB, is a total teardown and rebuild project (with repairs to the piers, instead of replacing them), but unlike the ARB, it’s cost was approximately $1.7M and is expected to be completed in a mere 6 months (originally scheduled to be completed in April of next year, new performance incentives have accelerated its anticipated completion date by 6 months - story here). 

Despite claims from some of our local officials that the projects aren’t similar at all (although in many ways, they are…they are both similar lengths, widths, square footage, and span), Chester County and state officials, including state Sen. Andy Dinniman, were able to find the funds to reopen and renegotiate the contract with successful bidder J.D. Eckman to build in incentives for each day Eckman improves upon the original project completion date and the Pickering Creek Dam bridge is reopened early. The contractor also agreed to work five ten-hour days per week instead of four.

Naturally, LPT residents are scratching their heads and enviously asking: Why do we have to wait a long three years’ worth of sitting in traffic and detoured routes for OUR bridge (closed in August 2013) to be completed when it is clearly possible to do so faster?

Photo credit: Main Line Media News
While the two projects are similar in some ways, a direct comparison is difficult because in many ways it’s an apples-to-oranges scenario. For starters, Pickering/Route 23 is a state road and 100% state project, versus ARB, which is a Montgomery County-owned bridge. The repairs are being funded partly by the federal government, along with state and county funds. Their design and bid processes are different right out of the gate.

Second, Pickering is a part of a larger state project known as Act 89. Also known as the Transportation Bill, it covers numerous bridge and road improvements across Pennsylvania and was signed into law in 2013 by Governor Tom Corbett. It allocates $2.3 billion in funding for transportation-related projects in Pennsylvania, including road and bridge projects.  PennDOT claims Act 89 “promotes coordinated planning and implementation to ensure greatest return on investment.”

And, the Pickering Dam bridge project was on the state’s radar for the past ten years as needing replacement so some preparation had already been made by the time Act 89 was enacted, whereas several past County administrations had kicked the ARB can down the road until it could no longer be postponed. While design plans had been drawn up some time ago - which called for a side-by-side rebuild while the existing bridge was still open - deterioration and closure of the ARB in August 2013 necessitated scratching that plan and starting over.  Single-source funding under Act 89 made it easier to do incentives on that project.

Third, the ARB required the purchase of a number of easements from private residents, some of which had to be negotiated, and this dragged out the timeline before construction could even begin. The Pickering Dam bridge project did not require acquisition of easements.

Fourth, Pickering Dam Bridge carries approximately 20,000 cars per day whereas ARB carries in the neighborhood of 9000 cars per day, and with 11,000 more pain points over in Phoenixville, clearly Pickering Dam Bridge appears to be a higher priority from a regional perspective.
Photo credit: Mike Vereb

And let’s not forget that there was about a six-week delay in December 2014-January 2015 when workers for successful bidder Allan A. Myers L.P. of Worcester who were tearing down the old ARB bridge discovered the presence of lead-based paint (verified by PennDOT officials), requiring a revamped, nonhazardous demolition strategy. 

Montgomery County is the conduit through which PennDOT bid the job, negotiated the final construction contract, and payments to the contractor are being made. Despite the fact that the lowest bid for the ARB project was almost $2.5M less than the amount budgeted for the project, the July 5, 2016 timeline was built into the contract and, unlike the Route 23/Pickering project – for who knows what reason – there were no performance incentives included in the deal to encourage them to get it done faster. In addition, there are, as far as I can tell, no terms that require a certain number of hours to be worked per day or a particular number of employees to be dedicated to the ARB project.

By comparison, the Pickering Dam bridge contract specifies working hours of 9 am to 3 pm (to avoid rush hours) and allows for the possibility of overnight work. The newly negotiated agreement does not note a total cost for the incentives but notes “Cost has been negotiated and agreed with Department representatives. Acceleration has been started with extended work hours, overtime, and extra Friday work shifts.” A cover letter accompanying PennDOT’s response to my Right to Know request states that “ While PennDOT has agreed to pay a lump sum to accelerate delivery of the project to November 26, 2015 (as evidenced by the enclosed Contract Work Authorization) it has not yet reduced to writing its agreement in principle with the contractor relative to an incentive payment. Subject to change, the parties have conceptually agreed that if the contractor completes the project early, it will receive $3,000 for each day in advance of the November 26, 2015 date.” (more info here)

Residents driving by the Arcola Road Bridge project regularly report via Facebook seeing no, or only one or two, workers during normal working hours. Progress appears to be moving at a snail’s pace, and whatever is getting accomplished down there seems to be happening far too slowly for most residents. However, Upper Providence Township supervisor John Pearson, who lives along the UPT side of the bridge and whose home looks down upon the creek bed, told us at a July 30 public meeting held by state Rep. Mike Vereb at the LP Township building in response to complaints voiced at the “Living in Lower Providence” Facebook page, that workers are indeed there every day, often begin work at 6 am, and that it can be difficult to see from road height just what is happening.

So, don’t blame the contractor, Allan Myers.When the Montco commissioners/PennDOT bid the ARB job, more than $7 million was budgeted, but the lowest responsible bidder (Myers) came in at $5.3M. Thus, there is additional money available to reopen and renegotiate the contract to provide performance incentives for Allan Myers (which various sources familiar with this and similar projects have suggested would run in the neighborhood of $200,000-$300,000).

photo credit: Times Herald Oct 2014
So – why haven’t our local officials tried to do the same thing for our bridge project? Why can’t we, too, renegotiate the contract to build in some financial incentives to the contractor to speed up completion and reopening?  Fact is, they have raised the subject, but so far it’s fallen on deaf ears with the Montco commissioners.

According to Charles Metzger, PennDOT Community Relations Coordinator, told me that it was easier to do incentives on the Pickering Dam bridge project because as an Act 89 project which funds numerous other highway/transportation projects across the Commonwealth, it was easier to move money under that funding umbrella from another, less-critical project to this one to provide the incentives.

As to ARB, while Vereb initially (and, as it turns out, erroneously) stated at the July 30 meeting that contracts like ARB that are largely federally funded could not have incentives, I’ve learned that’s not exactly the case. Not only are they permitted, but the federal government actually prefers to build incentives into their agreements wherever possible.
As of 8-31-15. Photo credit: Susan Wozniak
Since Montgomery County has the least amount of skin in the game – 5% versus 15% from the State and 80% from the feds - and it IS their bridge, I’m not sure I understand why something can’t be done, particularly since the County negotiated and awarded the contract in the first place.

Considering that Montco commissioner’s chair Josh Shapiro has been quoted in the press recently boasting about their financial prowess and how they are sitting on enough reserve cash to float numerous social service agencies in the area for several months during the prolonged state budget standoff, surely their alleged financial acumen could be applied to ponying up some incentive money to get the ARB completed much faster than July 2016, especially given that the bid award was substantially less than that budgeted for the project.

LP’s traffic engineer, Casey Moore, from the firm McMahon Associates, told me that “contractors like Allan Myers are always looking for performance incentives because they have an ability to meet them and make some money”, and that they’d thus likely be very open to the possibility.

I also spoke to Seth Myers, Vice President of Business Development at Allan Myers, who reiterated that the speed and pace of construction is out of their control, noting that “We are given specs and a schedule to follow” post-bid award, and allocate their resources accordingly. The firm was, until recently, unaware of all the Facebook chatter directing blame for the slow construction pace and alleged inactivity on the project firmly in their direction, and told me “We appreciate people’s frustration in not being able to use the bridge, but we will deliver the completed bridge on time”. The company manages over 450 projects statewide and has allocated its resources and paced work according to contractual requirements for each – including the ARB.
Allan Myers has compelling reasons to deliver on time: there are Road User Liquidated Damages of $27,009 built into the ARB agreement to be assessed for every day or portion of a day after July 5, 2016 that the ARB is not open to unrestricted traffic on all lanes, and another $27,009 assessment for each day or portion of a day that the detour is not removed on or after July 5, 2016.
There is an additional cost to the contractor (Construction Engineer Liquidated Damages) of $3,325 for each day that any physical work remains uncompleted after the Required Completion Date, to be deducted from money due or to become due. Thus, for each day that this project remains incomplete after July 5, 2016, it will cost Allan Myers $57,343.
At the July 30 meeting, Rep. Vereb reiterated that we shaved about 14 months off the beginning phase of the project because they got the plan designed, approved, bid and awarded in 13 months instead of the 24 months it could have taken, as well as doing a number of things concurrently that normally are done consecutively, such as DEP review, utility relocation plan, traffic impact study, stormwater plan, environmental study, etc. Each normally has a 60-90 day review period, and we saved 6-7 months right there. He also indicated that originally it was hoped that the new bridge could be built side-by-side with the old one while it was still open, but having to shut it down as unsafe rendered that impossible.

But Upper Providence Township supervisor and chairman Lisa Mossie recently weighed in on Facebook, taking issue with the Montco commissioners: "County knew they were going to close this bridge months before they actually did, yet they had no engineered plans in place and it costs us months on the design work. Leslie's [PennDOT chief Richards] Plymouth Road Bridge was closed completely unexpectedly because of sinkholes, and not only did they get it fixed in five short months with no engineering in place, but they filled two developing sinkholes and re-routed a stream. All in less time than it took them to just get started on Arcola."

By all accounts, officials for both townships, Rep. Vereb's office, and State Sen. John Rafferty's office have been relentless in trying to coordinate activities with the county and contractor and push for forward movement. Vereb particularly called out LPT manager Richard Gestrich as being very vocal and tenacious in getting answers and action.
Vereb indicated that in all likelihood, if we have a mild winter, the project will be completed early, in mid-spring 2016, and they won’t hold up the opening for esthetics like landscaping and minor finishing touches. However, don’t start your engines just yet: In an August 16, 2015 Associated Press article, Farmers’ Almanac editor Janice Stillman says the Northeast will see a winter of heavy snowfall and below-normal, frigid temperatures.

Unfortunately for us, it may be that the contractual maneuverings are just water under the bridge at this point and all we can do is wait for whichever happens first – a performance incentive from the county commissioners (all of whom are running for re-election or, in Castor's case, hoping to be elected back to the DA's office), or spring thaw.

Photo credit: CBS Philly

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Throwing the First Pitch

A universal part of the human experience is to experience loss, sorrow and grief. Often we cope by trying to make something positive come out of it.  We may establish some form of lasting tribute to memorialize the passing of someone who meant the world to us by making donations to worthy charitable organizations, or perhaps establish a scholarship fund.  It allows us to soothe our heartache, pay it forward in the name of someone special, and the fortunate recipients to benefit as well. But, no matter how we honor the deceased’s memory, we frequently wish we could do more.

Imagine if you will the ability to make such a gesture, but on a grander scale, benefiting an entire community – and imagine, too, what it might be like to have the good fortune to receive such an honor. 

Township officials might find themselves in that enviable 
position after they gathered last week together with officials from J.P. Mascaro, Inc. and their donor entity, MB Investments, in a public meeting to hear informal plans for the proposed construction of donated ball fields on a parcel of land long coveted by LPT as a potential acquisition for park space. 

Mascaro, a long-time community partner, just may have topped themselves with this proposal. They offered the generous donation, with an estimated completion cost to them of approximately $1 million ((excluding the value of the land itself, which would be leased to LPT for $1 per year), as their way of honoring the memory of late Mascaro family member Frank A. Mascaro, who passed away in 2013. J.P. Mascaro is headquartered in Lower Providence Township.

An audience of about 40 adjacent residents and community
members listened, along with township supervisors*, to the pitch detailing the conceptual plan made by William Fox, general counsel for the organization. Fox was joined by Pasquale “Pat” Mascaro, Jr and John Marsh, their in-house engineer, who provided specifics and answered questions about the plan.  

The parcel in question had been on LPT’s radar for some time. Back in 2003 Montco voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum for a $150 million tax increase dedicated to open space acquisition and conservation. Fresh on the heels of that action, in 2005 LPT revised its Open Space Plan – I chaired the Open Space Committee at the time and oversaw its compilation and development - to identify inventory, assess needs gaps and decide priorities for the acquisition, development and investment in open and park space within the Township.

Number 2 on the list of priority potential targets identified in 
the Open Space Plan was the 38-acre parcel at 2759 Woodland Avenue, not far from Woodland Elementary School and sandwiched between Miami and Lauman Avenues, also known as the “Downes property”.  This property is in Zone D of the Plan, an area of the Township recognized as having a deficit of usable open space, trails and park space compared to the rest of the municipality.  

While LPT was never able to realize the acquisition of the land themselves (the December 2009 sale price to Mascaro was $2.2 million, well out of the Township’s reach), they now can discuss the possibility of the next best thing: having the construction of usable ball fields and amenities fully accomplished at no cost to taxpayers and leased to the Township for the nominal fee of $1 per year, and having the land protected for a long period of time - all the while having the property remain on the tax rolls.  We will still be able to collect tax revenue on a public municipal use. Only about ten acres of the total 38 comprising the parcel would be used per the proposed plan. The remainder would be left as is and all existing structures would remain.

Per a May 7, 2015 letter to LPT, when the property was 
purchased in 2009 the Downes family and Mascaro mutually agreed to the placement of a 25-year deed restriction on the property mandating that it not be developed for “at least” that initial 25 years [see letter, here]. Athough six years into that moratorium as of 2015, the company indicated it would enter into a 20 to 25 year lease agreement with the Township when the facilities are complete so technically, the fields will be restricted for far longer. In addition,  Fox told me subsequent to the meeting, from a practical standpoint, the company has no interest in dishonoring Frank Mascaro’s name by not honoring those terms, tearing down the fields, or by trying to develop the property anytime soon, if ever. As Fox pointed out, the company owns numerous other properties in other locations and does not need to monetize this one. 

5/14 Childress field dedication/photo courtesy JP Mascaro
This project, being completed 
by essentially the same team who brought the handsome new Robert Childress Memorial Field to life at Methacton High School, is estimated to take 3-6 months to complete. 

According to supervisor Patrick Duffy, this project featuring 
three ball fields (one tournament-grade), will potentially provide for multi-player families in the Methacton Baseball league what those playing for Audubon Recreation Association (ARA) already have   several fields in close proximity to each other. Currently, ARA has 7 fields in one location and with these fields, Methacton will have 5 fields within walking distance – 2 at Woodland and 3 here. Currently, Methacton baseball parents have to traverse 7 fields scattered between Eagleville and Woodland Elementary schools, and at Heebner Field in Worcester. Parents with more than one child playing baseball and softball at a time have to figure out how to bend the time-space continuum to attend more than one game for multiple offspring. 

The tournament field is planned to have lighting for night use to give teams more flexibility for games and practices, but Fox told me if the project is given the green light by the Township they will build the project whether or not lights are approved with it.

While technically as the lessee LPT would be responsible for maintenance of the property, as a practical matter LPT typically makes field maintenance a term of any lease agreement with any athletic organization that leases fields from the Township. In that scenario (which is done with all our various athletic leagues who use our fields today) the Township isn’t using its resources since sports organizations have a captive army of volunteers willing to help take care of the fields they play on.

Currently there are approximately 16 ball fields available within Township boundaries, 12 of which are either owned or leased by the Township, and as I can personally attest from the years my son and his friends played for ARA and other leagues, it was always very difficult for coaches to find available field for practices in particular – especially if we had a rainy spell – as makeup games piled up and occupied open, correctly sized fields.  It was not uncommon to have to trek up to Heebner Field in Worcester Township or use West Norriton facilities, if they were even available. With two very active and large baseball leagues here, ARA and Methacton Baseball Association, there is definitely a need for more baseball fields. This project would go a long way toward closing that gap.

However, comments from residents attending the presentation indicated that not all may view this as a positive for the community. 

From her backyard adjoining the planned facility, all that 
Lauman Avenue resident Lynette Leong could think about was how she’d purchased her property so she could see the constellations at night and wild animals during the day, and now primary among her concerns wondered whether Mascaro, in developing the plan, had considered the environmental impacts on things like well water, and that they are encroaching on wildlife habitat. 

Fox replied that as far as any environmental concerns, DEP sets the requirements and standards for this type of development and they have to comply. Whatever the standards are under the Township zoning ordinance for this type of project, they'd also have to comply. He added, "This might sound a little harsh to you, as it relates to your concern about development on the property, I can see that you would prefer the property to remain just as it is, but as the owner of the property, whether it’s a little league field by right or houses by right (and we’ve restricted that), the property owner also has certain rights to use his or her property in a manner that’s consistent with the Township’s zoning ordinance which, as a whole, is designed to protect the public’s health, safety and welfare, and not put uses next to you that are offensive or contrary to good planning.  I don’t know that anything I could say here could make you feel comfortable that that property’s going to remain the same because if this project is approved, it will not remain the same. I will say that we are going to try to make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible and it will certainly be far, far less offensive than it could have been if there were other types of developments on this property which the zoning will allow. We are trying to be sensitive to all the neighbors’ concerns. We may not be able to address everyone’s concerns 100%..."

He pointed out that the Township’s zoning ordinance reflects 
this Board's and prior supervisors’ determination this is an appropriate use in a residential area. 

Other concerns expressed by residents in attendance included the typical: stormwater runoff, construction dust, buffering (much of the property already has a significant tree line buffer), noise, traffic, parking and potential impact on adjacent property values. Supervisor Duffy and Fox both indicated many of these practical concerns are, per the Municipalities Planning Code, addressed further along in the process after a formal plan is filed with the Township for review during the land development process.   Part of the process entails both the Township’s and the County’s planning commissions having the opportunity to review and comment on the plan, offering their feedback and suggestions for incorporation into the final approved plan. 
For things such as noise, lights, vandalism - there are ordinances in place that can be enforced as a matter of policing the area like we do in our other parks. In addition the Township can impose conditions on the use and any lights. 

When it comes to property values, I have lived adjacent to an LPT park (featuring  two ball parks, two tot lots, a basketball court, picnic pavilion and jogging trail) for many years,  and can relate that our experience has been that properties such as ours abutting the park command a higher asking price (and we are far less buffered than homeowners next to this parcel are / will be). Buyers appreciate the amenities and the fact that the land is protected and devoid of other neighbor’s backyards facing your own.  

And that experience is borne out elsewhere, according to local residential realtor Patti Tabor, who has moved many LP properties over the years. 

“Houses backing to a park or open 
space generally draw a higher sale price. The concerns for many are with the parking situation. Take Warrior Field for example. The parking is inadequate and creates an issue on Landis Mill Road. That does not help property values. The moral of the story is...If they're going to do it, do it right”.

Evidently, Supervisor Colleen Eckman recognized just this scenario, as one of her comments was that ‘it looks like we might need to add some parking beyond what’s noted on the plan". Ms. Eckman, a candidate for township supervisor this November on the Republican ballot, appeared to be opposed to the idea of lights for the tournament field judging by her other comments and questions.

The last resident to speak, John Larcinese from Hollywood Lane (and a Public Works employee of the Township who would likely wind up mowing this facility), mentioned how well the lit field at Redtail works in that neighborhood, that he supports the project even though it is very close to his home, and that he felt the approximately $4000 annual maintenance cost versus a state-of-the-art $1 million facility equaled a win/win for the community. 

Seems like a no-brainer for LPT and a fitting tribute for the Mascaro family as well. Hopefully, LPT will see fit to play ball.

*For informal 'staff solicitor' meetings, generally only 2 supervisors attend so as not to have a quorum. However, four of the supervisors attended this meeting - two in an official capacity and two who did not participate. Supervisor Jill Zimmerman was not present.