Council discusses updates concerning Route 73 redevelopment efforts at latest meeting

Additional items up for discussion included borough landscaping, impaired driving crackdown and park dedication ceremony.

On Monday, Aug. 5, Palmyra Council convened for its regular public meeting, preceded by a redevelopment agency meeting that included a closed session portion, during which council discussed meeting with potential redevelopers.

The redevelopment meeting included updates from Borough Administrator John Gural about Route 73 South redevelopment efforts. 

The borough won its motion to intervene in the state Department of Environmental Protection vs. Fillit litigation proceedings and, according to Gural, a meeting with the attorney general’s office is being scheduled for later in the week.

He referred to Borough Attorney Ted Rosenberg, who will be present at the meeting, for confirmation.

“They informally expressed the fact that they wish to cooperate with the borough. I told them we appreciate that very much and look forward to the meeting,” said Rosenberg.

Gural also briefly discussed the recent news that National Amusements will be closing the Tacony-Palmyra Flea Market on Aug. 18, and what that means for future redevelopment efforts.

“They have been a single, obstinate property owner and, frankly speaking, a serious obstacle to redevelopment, so that’s good news,” said Gural.

He continued, stating that under its current ownership, the property had been underutilized given its location in an area in need of redevelopment, and that the borough’s position has been strengthened with the closure of the market.

Representatives from National Amusements declined a request for comments about their decision to close the Tacony Palmyra Flea Market.

The majority of the redevelopment meeting took place in closed session, with council discussing meeting with potential redevelopers and proposed concept plans.

After reconvening, the top of the regular meeting included a notification by Mayor Michelle Arnold of the upcoming Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over 2019 Statewide Crackdown, by way of a proclamation. 

The proclamation included the reasoning behind the crackdown, including that approximately one-third of all fatal traffic crashes in the country involve impaired drivers, impaired driving crashes killed 10,874 people in the U.S. in 2017 and crashes of this nature cost the U.S. almost $44 billion a year.

According to Arnold’s reading of the proclamation, the crackdown will remain in effect from Aug. 16 to Sept. 2. The timing coincides with the end of summer and Labor Day weekend, traditionally a time of increased risk of instances of impaired driving.

Council passed two resolutions added to the night’s agenda during Borough Engineer William Kirchner’s professional updates in relation to borough intersection landscaping and additional requirements for the Temple Boulevard TAP (Transportation Alternatives Program) grant.

The first resolution allotted $3,750 to have landscape architects assess and give estimates for landscaping projects involving 12 planting beds at five intersections from Elm Avenue/Terrace to Chestnut Street.

The second allotted $16,000 to meet additional requirements for the Temple Boulevard TAP grant including, according to Gural, environmental reviews, architectural reviews and special training.

“If you want to keep the grant, it is my strong recommendation that you have to pay to have these services done,” said Gural.

Additional items discussed at the meeting included the dedication ceremony for Chief Payton I. Flournoy, Sr. Park, which has been officially scheduled for Sept. 7 at 11 a.m. in the park, and the Knights of Columbus building on the corner of Elm and Broad Street currently up for sale.

According to Gural, the borough received a zoning application to convert the property into six apartments, an issue the land use board will be considering in the near future.