Greetings everyone! We hope that you all had an enjoyable and happy summer season!
As we reflect on the summer season past, we are pleased with the progress made throughout the Township. PennDot completed their road surface paving project on a portion of Route 50, the railroad bridge roadway, and on Cross Creek
Road. They also began, and are currently rehabilitating and replacing the concrete composite decking on the bridge located near the Avella Motor and Body Company. Estimated completion of this project is November 2016. The street curb and gutter replacement project in downtown Avella has also been completed. The Independence Township Public Works Department has had a very active and productive summer season addressing upgrades, improvements, and repairs to the Township’s roads. We are very pleased with all that our Public Works Department has accomplished this past summer season, as well as their quality of work.
Additionally, throughout the summer months, we dedicated our focus and efforts toward improving the Independence Township Community Center (Community Center). New rental rates and expanded hours were established for the Community Center and we encourage residents to take advantage in using the facility for hosting events. The Community Center was full of activity throughout the summer months hosting sports practices for volleyball, basketball, and cheerleading, as well as hosting the Avella Area Public Library’s Summer Reading Program and a wedding reception. In July 2016 the termite treatment was completed and we approved the contracting of a structural engineer to prepare the structural design and construction specifications that will be needed for contractors to bid on the structural floor repair project at the Community Center. Additionally, in August 2016, we approved the development of a Short Term Master Plan by an architectural firm that specializes in recreation centers and community centers. This Short Term Master Plan will consist of a Schematic Design that will establish an overall conceptual design for the Community Center and will further provide the needed support documentation to be used by the Township to apply for grant monies for repairs, upgrades, and renovations at the Community Center. Recently, we have applied for the Local Share Account (LSA) grant for the purpose of funding renovations at the Community Center. We should know by the end of this year or by the beginning of 2017 if we have been awarded this grant. Furthermore, we are pleased to announce that the Intergovernmental Cooperation agreement 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 has been approved and adopted. The Community Center is an asset that jointly we hope to develop into a facility that offers a wide range of activities to better serve both Townships’ residents.
During the past summer months we have also continued our focus on the development of the Independence Township Community Park (Community Park). At our August 2016 Township monthly meeting bids were opened for the Phase I construction project of the Community Park. The bids were reviewed by the landscape architect of the Community Park, Pashek Associates. After the review process, which included the evaluation of all bid values, Pashek Associates determined that the bids came in too high for the amount of work required, and recommended clarifications and minor changes to bid specifications and that the Township rebid for the Phase I construction of the Community Park. Therefore, based upon the above mentioned recommendation, there will be a delay in the beginning of Phase I construction. In our continued efforts to consistently acquire funding for the Community Park development, we have applied for a Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) grant and a Greenways, Trails, and Recreation Program grant. We are currently waiting to hear if the Township has been awarded these grants.
As we enter the final months of the 2016 year, we will continue our commitment to serve our residents to the best of our abilities—to serve with dedication to improve the Township and to improve the quality of life of all residents.
We hope that everyone takes time to enjoy the visual splendor of the autumn foliage, as well as the special events and festivals that are unique to the autumn season. Since this is the last quarterly newsletter of the 2016 year, we also at this time, extend to everyone our warmest wishes for a most joyous and blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, and close this message with the following quote by philosophical essayist, novelist, poet, and artist, Khalil Gibran:
Giving of Ourselves
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give”
Thomas Jennings, Chairman
Louis Brandenburg, Jr., Vice-Chairman