At its most recent public session, Haddonfield’s board of commissioners gave itself the go-ahead to apply for a grant aimed at solving the pressing issue of stormwater remediation — both within the municipality and for others in the surrounding area.
The borough is seeking planning grant funds from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, and has joined with three other towns — Audubon, Barrington and Haddon Heights — to do so via a joint Transportation & Community Develop Initiative (TCDI) Grant.
“When you’re dealing with rainwater, it doesn’t pay attention to where your borders are. You get water from other communities also, so this is more of a regional issue than it is a town-by-town issue,” noted Borough Administrator Sharon McCullough.
“We’ve applied for this grant to try and hire a professional to come in and take a look at all four towns, and determine what those drainage areas are. Once we get those drainage areas, we are going to look at the main roads and see if we can bring those areas up, and assist with the water that’s coming down.
According to language in the resolution, each of the four boroughs must provide a 20-percent match of the total project cost, and at least 5 percent of their kick-in must cover administrative costs through “in-kind” services, for the total amount of the grant request.
If the TCDI request is accepted, the municipal group must complete all requirements for the grant agreement within a 24-month time frame, then submit proof of adoption or acceptance of that deliverable to DVRPC no later than Dec. 31, 2022.
“By starting to form consortiums of towns together, we may be eligible for larger funds, either through the state or the federal government, and be more successful, hopefully, at taking something rather than just doing it on our own,” said Mayor Neal Rochford.
“The fact that we’ve been able to get four towns together for this drain process is a big step forward in trying to figure out some of the issues we’ve had recently. If we can figure out a way, on a region-wide basis, to more evenly disperse the water, it’s good for all of us.”
Commissioner Colleen Bianco Bezich read a proclamation declaring March as Women’s History Month in Haddonfield. She addressed the female fourth graders from Elizabeth Haddon Elementary School in the audience, saying:
“It’s really important that you’re here, because you’re our future leaders. We’re going to rely on you to do the leading going forward, and we’re very grateful for your interest in local government and for your participation in school. This proclamation is for you.”
To date, the borough has had just one non-male head of government, Tish Colombi, who served that post from 2001-13 during a 28-year career on the board of commissioners. Bianco Bezich was elected to her post in November, and currently serves as Commissioner for Public Safety.
In other news:
- Both Bezich and Rochford stated the Commissioners were to have a meeting of the Board of Health on Monday, March 16, just prior to their work session, to assess the threat the spread of coronavirus would have on the borough.
- Commissioner Jeffrey Kasko was not in attendance, having watched his son play for Haddonfield Memorial High School’s varsity basketball team against Camden High in a Group 2 playoff contest.
- Commissioners additionally declared March 15-21 as Poison Prevention Week.
- The borough paid nearly $1,400 for the installation of security cameras around the Bancroft site, to head off potential damage to its windows or structure.