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Upcoming road closure could cause some problems --- that and more from Middletown council's Sept. 20 meeting

The intersection of Ann Street — Route 441 - and South Union Street will have to be closed to traffic for about three weeks starting sometime in early October, Borough Manager Ken Klinepeter told Middletown Borough Council during its Sept. 20 meeting.

 

The closure is part of wrapping up the downtown streetscape project, Klinepeter said. The concrete pad that is now in the middle of the intersection will be taken out, and “bump outs” will be added similar to the ones added in other parts of the streetscape.

 

Klinepeter could not give an exact date for when the road closure will start. During the closure, traffic will be detoured right on Wood Street, then left to State Street and left on Union, and then right onto the bridge going into Royalton, Klinepeter said.

 

The detour is going to cause problems, as it will direct tractor-trailers and other traffic into an area where four different bus stops are located, Councilor Dawn Knull said. She urged that the borough have police step up traffic enforcement at the bus stops during the closure.

Decision expected soon on whether to proceed with downtown overlay

In other news, council is expected to decide during its next meeting on Oct. 4 whether to move forward with or abandon the so-called “downtown overlay.”

A previous council in 2015 hired a Philadelphia-based consulting firm to come up with recommendations that would supplement and “overlay” the existing zoning governing the borough’s downtown. 

 

Eighty percent of the project cost was to be funded by a grant from the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission.

The firm completed its report a year ago in September 2015, but nothing has been done since then.

 

Council is now at a point where it must decide whether to move forward with the overlay or walk away from it, in which case the borough would have to return some of the grant money to Tri-County, said Esch McCombie, solicitor to the borough for planning and land development.

 

Klinepeter could not say how much money the borough would owe Tri-County, if council chooses to abandon the overlay project.

 

McCombie requested council be prepared on Oct. 4 to decide whether to proceed with the overlay and, if so, to provide guidance to the solicitor regarding what recommendations from the firm that council wants to adopt.

 

A proposed ordinance to implement the overlay could be presented to council to approve for advertisement on Nov. 15, McCombie said. That would set the stage for a hearing on the ordinance to be held on Dec. 20, with a vote on final approval of the ordinance possible during that same meeting, he added.

 

Some businesses in town have voiced concerns about the downtown overlay, said Council President Ben Kapenstein. Council has to make sure that it gives businesses and residents the opportunity to present their views on the overlay, he said.

New code ordinances could be approved for advertisement on Oct. 4

 

On a related note, council is expected to consider approving for advertisement during its Oct. 4 meeting three proposed ordinances that officials say will consolidate and streamline existing code enforcement and property maintenance regulations.

One of the proposed ordinances would establish an appeals process that is needed for the borough to enforce its code regulations and laws, said Councilor Diana McGlone.

 

McGlone, who has been working on the proposed ordinances for several months, wanted council to act on advertising the ordinances during its Sept. 20 meeting. However, Knull asked for more time.

 

“You’ve been working on it” for months, Knull said to McGlone. “I’ve seen it for 20 minutes,”

 

Kapenstein agreed that council should wait until Oct. 4 to act, so members can have more time to absorb the three proposed ordinances.

 

“Ninety-nine percent” of other municipalities have adopted these same ordinances, McCombie said. The only part of the proposed ordinances that is different from what other municipalities have adopted is the material being “carried over” from existing borough ordinances, he said. 

Downtown Parking Study - action on Oct. 4?

 

In other matters, council during its next meeting on Oct. 4 may finally take some action on the long-discussed and debated downtown parking issue.

 

Council since May has had the recommendations from a downtown parking study that was put together by borough police.

 

Council appeared ready to take some action during its Sept. 20 meeting, when Public Works Director Greg Wilsbach said he had found some parking ordinances already on the books that were not being enforced - perhaps due to a lack of signage.

 

Council wants Wilsbach to determine exactly what parking regulations and ordinances are already on the books, before deciding which new ones to implement. The plan is for Wilsbach to be able to provide this information so council can take some kind of action during its Oct. 4 meeting. 

 

Council needs to know what provisions are already in place before acting on any new parking regulations and rules, said Borough Solicitor Adam Santucci.

 

Council Oct. 4 is likely to act on increasing the existing $15 fee for a parking ticket in the downtown. Councilor Robert Reid proposed raising the $15 fine to $75.

Board members to be sought for new downtown business association

 

Otherwise, council voted 6-1 to advertise to seek people to serve on the board of directors of a new Middletown downtown business association. Council would act to appoint board members at an upcoming meeting. Council Vice President Damon Suglia voted no.

 

Council also appointed former borough councilor Scott Sites to a four-year term on the planning commission. Sites replaces Ray Jones, who recently resigned. Council advertised to fill the position but Sites was the only person to apply.

Councilor proposes community meeting on crime 

 

In another unrelated matter, Knull proposed holding a community meeting to discuss forming a neighborhood crime watch, and to discuss issues related to drugs and crime in the borough.

 

Knull did not suggest a date, but said that the meeting should be held at the Liberty Fire Hall so that the fire department can also be involved in the discussion.

 

Knull said she met on Sept. 13 with Chief John Bey and three other Middletown police officers to discuss concerns that residents have presented to her about crime, and what they can do about it.

 

The police said that Middletown has “a severe drug issue” and “a severe sex offender issue,” Knull said.

 

Borough police should again be a part of the Dauphin County Drug Task Force, Knull said. Middletown police used to provide an officer to serve on the county drug task force, but this was ended by a previous council, Knull said.

 

Dauphin County has supported the idea of a neighborhood crime watch in Middletown “for some time,” Kapenstein said. 

 

Middletown does have a neighborhood crime watch but it is “not very active,” said Knull.

 

Councilor Ann Einhorn urged borough support for reviving the former Communities That Care program that used to exist in Middletown. The organization works on drug abuse education and prevention in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Einhorn said. She has been approached by a resident who wants to re-start the program in Middletown.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2016 23:44

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HIA drill scheduled for Saturday

If you hear a lot of sirens and emergency vehicles going in and out of Harrisburg International Airport on Saturday, it’s only a drill.

But it will be a big drill, because it only happens once every three years, HIA says.

The drill will take place at the airport from 9:30 a.m. until about noon.

The exercise will simulate a large air carrier incident, and involve actual responses from HIA’s mutual aid fire, police and emergency medical services. Also expected to participate are the American Red Cross, Dauphin County coroner’s office, the 193rd Air National Guard, and other organizations from throughout Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster and York counties.

Volunteer “victims” will be made up to simulate injuries ranging from minor bumps and bruises to fatalities.

The exercise is required by the Federal Aviation Administration, said HIA Executive Director Tim Edwards. 

“We’re asking area residents in advance to not be alarmed should they see emergency vehicles at the airport. This is only a drill,” he said.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2016 16:15

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Black Horse has new co-owners, eyes future

BlackHorse WEBPress And Journal Staff Photo by Dan Miller -- New Black Horse Tavern co-owner Thomas Pavlovic, right, poses along the bar with restaurant head cook Robert Shoenfelt.

 

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again — or sell the business and get new management, as in the case of Black Horse Tavern at North Pine and East Main streets in Middletown.

After just six months or so in business, the partnership that bought the old Lamp Post Inn and spent at least another $250,000 in renovations has turned it over to new owners.

For the full story, CLICK HERE to subscribe to the Press And Journal.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2016 15:42

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UPS adding 120 jobs in Middletown

UPS has about 120 new jobs opening up at its distribution center on Harrisburg International Airport in Middletown, a UPS spokeswoman told the Press And Journal.


The new positions are among more than 1,500 new jobs in the greater Harrisburg region that UPS is looking to fill as the company gears up for the busy holiday shipping season.
The Middletown jobs are among 550 UPS has available in Harrisburg specifically. Besides HIA, these new positions are at the company's facility at 1821 S. 19th St. in Harrisburg.
Otherwise, UPS has 343 jobs to fill in Lancaster, 342 in Allentown, 152 in Scranton, and 176 in Wilkes-Barre.


The type of jobs UPS wants to fill in the Harrisburg area are as follows:


• 29 tractor-trailer drivers.
• 136 package car drivers.
• 591 package handlers.
• 807 driver-helpers.


Package car driver jobs start at $18.75 per hour and pay for package handlers and driver-helpers start at $10.15 per hour, UPS said.


Seasonal and part-time jobs often lead to a career at UPS, the company said. Close to 40 percent of the people hired by UPS for seasonal package handler jobs from 2012 to 2014 ended up working for the company on a permanent basis after the holidays were over.


The part-time positions come with benefits, the company said. Part-time package handlers who are in college may also be eligible for up to $25,000 in tuition assistance, UPS said.
To apply, go to UPSjobs.com.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 September 2016 15:48

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