Welcome everyone to the 2017 spring/summer edition of the Declaration of Independence Township newsletter! The cold, cloudy days of the winter season are well behind us, and we now find the longer, sunny days and warmer temperatures refreshing and invigorating. We enter the spring and summer seasons with enthusiasm and look forward to working on projects and making improvements throughout the Township and we also continue our commitment to the betterment of the Township.

A project already un­derway, as many may have noticed, is con­struction of the Inde­pendence Township Community Park (Community Park), Phase I. Tree clearing and grubbing and rough grading have been completed. To follow will be: fine grading, installation of controls for drainage and soil erosion, non-mowed grass seeding, clearing for the walking trail, shot and chip pav­ing of the parking lot, installation of a picnic pavilion/shelter, and installation of signage. Es­timated completion of the Phase I project is expected July/August 2017. Furthermore, we hope to continue our pursuit of grant opportu­nities with considering application for the up­coming Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program Grant for con­tinued Community Park development. We are pleased to announce that Sunoco Logistics recently donated $10,000.00 for the development of the Community Park.

We have begun the process to move forward

in addressing repairs/ renovations at the Inde­pendence Township Community Center (Community Center). Re­cently, we approved to advertise for bids for the repair of the structural floor beams of the Com­munity Center building. After sealed bids are re­ceived and opened a contract is expected to be awarded for this re­pair. Additional repairs/ renovations to follow for consideration are: roof repair or replacement, gutter repair, replace­ment of deteriorated windows (on the School Court side of the build­ing), Phase I electrical upgrade, room renova­tions, and interior paint­ing. Selection of repair/ renovation projects at the Community Center will be based on a priori­tized, phased approach, and will be dependent on available funding. We will also continue to seek grant oppor­tunities as a source of funding for these various Community Center projects. The Inde­pendence-Hopewell Joint Community Center Board (the advisory board that was es­tablished with the Intergov­ernmental Cooperation Agreement between Inde­pendence and Hopewell Townships to oversee and manage the day to day oper­ations of the Community Cen­ter) continues to develop ide­as for expanded utilization of the Community Center. We look forward to receiving their recommendations for devel­opment of the Community Center into a fully functional facility that hosts a wide range of activities and events to serve the interests and needs of each Township’s res­idents.

We are pleased to report that West Penn Power/First Energy has begun a project in the Township to replace ap­proximately 70 mercury vapor street light bulbs to LED bulbs. This project is the result of the Township’s request to the utility company for consid­eration to participate in their energy cost savings program. Benefits of the conversion to LED street light bulbs will be longer life span of bulbs, reduc­tion in maintenance costs, fast­er turn-on and turn-off of street lights, and energy effi­ciency with an estimated 32­37% savings on the Township’s electric bills for street lights. This light bulb conversion will be at no cost to the Township.

Another project estimated to begin in June 2017 is the PennDOT bridge replacement of the bridge located near the Po­lar Star on Meadowcroft Road. PennDOT has informed us they will provide detour signage well in advance of the construction start-date. After the replace­ment of the bridge PennDOT has agreed to tar and chip Fall­en Timber Road which will be the detour route used during bridge construction.

We have already completed the Township Annual Road Tour for 2017 and have established a list of sched­uled Township road pro­jects to be completed dur­ing the remainder of the year. More information fol­lows about Township road projects in the Public Works Department article.

We wish everyone the best throughout the spring and summer seasons and share with you a Native American blessing for the months ahead:

“May you have the strength of eagles’ wings, 
The faith and courage to fly to new heights,
And the wisdom of the universe to carry you there.”

Cordially yours,

Thomas Jennings, Chairman
Louis Brandenburg, Jr., Co-Chairman
Joyce McKenzie