February’s Board of Commissioner Workshop and Business meetings dealt with the regular business of the Township.
February’s Board of Commissioner Workshop and Business meetings dealt with the regular business of the Township, as highlighted, below.
Public Township Projects
By unanimous vote, the Board passed Resolution 1523, authorizing the Township to pursue $400,000 in funding from the Montgomery County 2040 Implementation grant program for the Cisco Park Playground Restoration and Walnut Avenue Pedestrian Walkway projects. If awarded, each project would get $200,000. Last year, the Township received $134,000 for the Cisco Park Project from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The Board also authorized the Township to seek up to $51,900 in funding from the Schuykill River Fund for the Mermaid Park and Habitat Restoration Project. If awarded, the funds would be used for stream stabilization efforts and/or the installation of a sediment forebay and meadow verge at the park. Last year, the Township received $197,000 for the Mermaid Project from the Montgomery County 2040 Implementation Grant Program.
CSX Rail Corridor
The subject of the abandoned CSX rail corridor that runs through Oreland and Flourtown came up again at the Commissioners’ workshop meeting held on February 8. The Township has desired to see the corridor converted into a trail for almost twenty years but questions about ownership of the corridor and initial protests to the creation of a trail by adjoining property owners at the time stopped any efforts. The corridor originally operated as the Plymouth branch of the Reading Railroad company. In the 1990’s, then-owners Conrail and CSX vacated the corridor. Since then, the property has changed ownership multiple times and it is no longer clear who owns the property. The Township would like to ascertain ownership, clean up the corridor and propose creating a nature trail on it. The Commissioners agreed that, compared to twenty years ago, the public now generally accepts that a new trail in the CSX corridor has potential to be an amazing township asset. Commissioner Jonathon Cobb, through whose ward the corridor runs, said that he would like to engage the current adjacent property owners near Penn and Buttonwood Roads and the Flourtown Country Club this Spring through virtual town halls to obtain feedback on the idea of making part of the corridor a usable trail. Commissioner Wilson advised that Montgomery County may well be interested in making a contribution in the event the Township decides to conduct the project.
Zoom Bomb Incident
On February 3, a number of people zoom-bombed a Black History Month STEM night attended by K-5 students and their parents, disrupting the proceeding with racial epithets, slurs, and sexual imagery. The STEM night, a celebration of black inventors sponsored by the Multicultural Parents Association of the School District of Springfield Township, had to be shut down after five minutes. Commissioner Graham noted at the Workshop meeting that the students and parents were visibly upset. The School District has condemned the behavior. Township Administrator reported that the Police are investigating the incident.
Police Satisfaction Survey
Commission President Standish reported at the Workshop meeting that Rachel Groner, Wyndmoor residents and Temple Professor, submitted the Police Satisfaction Survey to the Temple Institutional Review Board (IRB) for review. The electronic survey will be launched in early March and will be publicized in the Township Newsletter that comes out in Mid-March.
Resolution No. 1519 – Township Tax Collector Schedule of Fees
The Commissioners, by a vote of 5 to 2 (Commissioners Cobb and Maxwell opposing) passed Resolution No. 1519 adjusting the Township Tax Collector’s schedule of fees, which has not change for many years, in order to bring it up to the average schedule of fees listed in neighboring municipalities. The new fee schedule will take full effect in 2022.
Shade Tree And Planning Commission collaboration
The Shade Tree and Planning Commissions are working out a process for the Shade Tree Commission to provide advice and recommendations on landscaping and trees regarding planning/development projects. It looks like comment from Shade Tree commission would be presented to Planning Commission prior to Planning commission’s meetings.
The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to reappoint Planning Commission members, Angela Murray, George Schaefer, and David Sands to new 4-year terms that expire on 2/16/2025, and to appoint Joseph Ferraro, Springfield High School Athletics Director, to serve as the School District’s representative on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee.
Township Parkland Donations
At the Business meeting, Commissioner Graham, the Board Representative on the Parks and recreation Committee, thanked the following residents/institutions for their generous donations to the Township’s public facilities: Douglas Riordan ($160) and Beth TikVah – B’Nai Jeshrun ($500) for Cisco Park; Edna Ramirez ($250) for a memorial tree in Laurel Beech Park; and Bruce Charlick ($1,000) for a memorial bench in Fulginiti Park.
New Police Officer to join the Force as of 2/29/2021
At its Business meeting, the Board of Commissioners authorized a conditional offer of employment in the Springfield Township Police Department to Megan Lynn Padua, currently police officer for the City of Philadelphia and a veteran of the PA Army National Guard. Her employment will become effective on 2/29/2021, pending a routine medical and psychological evaluation. Padua, a Harleysville resident, will become the third female officer in the Township’s 29-person police force.
Township residents can request an audio recording of the Workshop Meeting by contacting Michael Taylor, Township Manager, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Residents may view the Recorded Business meetings and check all Public Meeting Agendas and Minutes here: https://www.springfieldmontco.org/government/meeting-agendas-minutes/.