Hello Independence Township residents! The spring season is here and we hope that you are en­joying all that this season represents-sunshine, warmth, color, birds chirping, and the fresh­ness of the air, Spring seems to excite our sens­es and our spirit of living, and also seems to bring an atmosphere of new beginnings and new pos­sibilities, as well as a time of plans and pro­jects. As we leave the winter season behind us, we look forward to mak­ing plans and addressing projects throughout the Township.

During the Annual Township Road Tour in April we will evaluate the conditions of all the Township roads and then make plans for needed road repairs and im­provement projects in 2016. Although we have been fortunate to have had a relatively mild winter season, we pre­dict that there will still be an extensive project “to-do” list for the Public Works Department. As always, we want to maintain the Township roads to the best of our capabilities.

The street curb re­placement project in downtown Avella (from the Family Practice at 9 Campbell Street to the Presbyterian Church at 25 Campbell Street) is now scheduled for com­pletion by the end of June 2016. Unfavorable weather during January-March of 2016 delayed the completion of this project.

We have been in contact with PennDOT concerning the two up­coming bridge projects in our area. PennDOT has informed us that there will be a delay in the construction start-date for the rehabilita­tion of the bridge locat­ed near Avella Motor and Body Company. Ac­cording to PennDOT, construction of the new composite concrete bridge deck is now ex­pected to begin in June 2016 rather than April 2016. PennDOT will post detour signs well in advance of the begin­ning of construction. PennDOT has also in­formed us that the re­placement of the single-span bridge near the Polar Star which was originally scheduled for July-November 2016 may be postponed until 2017. We will update Township residents as information becomes available.

The Independence Township Community Park project is currently in the permitting stage for construction. Therefore, excavation is now expected to begin sometime in June or July 2016. The Township was not selected to receive grant funds for its 2015 grant application to the Department of Con­servation and Natural Resources (DCNR). The DCNR grant application process is on a yearly basis and we have re­cently approved to apply for the 2016 DCNR grant. We hope to continue exploring grant opportunities not only for park development, but also for other projects that would benefit and help improve our Township.

Beginning this quarter, and throughout 2016, we hope to make plans to address the necessary repairs needed to the Independence Township Community Center (Community Center). We must first prioritize what needs to be done and then develop a phased approach to address the needed repairs. We also hope to explore any grant funds availa­ble pertaining to community centers. In addition, we are currently reviewing a draft for an Intergovernmental Coop­eration Agreement (prepared by the Township solicitor) between Independence Township and Hopewell Township to work together to administer, maintain, and operate the Community Center for the collective benefit of our respective residents.

The new Township Web site, www.independence.patownship.org, is now available for use. We encourage Town­ship residents to visit our newly designed and improved Web site to obtain important Township information.

As we enter into this spring season with enthusiasm for new possibilities, new plans, and new projects, we en­courage all of you to join us and become involved by finding time to give back to our community. We all get caught up in our daily lives, but we as individuals are responsible for the betterment of our community. Volunteering in the community, or simply helping a neighbor, creates an atmosphere of collective cooperation and helps bring a new vi­tality to our Township this spring season and throughout the year.

In closing, we share with you a Native American Indian Blessing in celebration of Spring 2016:

“May the sun bring you new energy by day,
May the moon softly restore you by night,
May the rain wash away your worries,
May the breeze blow new strength into your being,
May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.”

Cordially yours,

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