As all of us who reside in West Easton are aware, we are in cramped quarters. Not only as a small community that has reached its growth potential, but also in a lack of borough buildings that can house equipment and vehicles.
The Municipal Building also does duty as the Road Department’s facility and Tax Collector’s Office. It is small by today’s standards in providing office space, vehicle protection, and tool/equipment storage.
The pavilion at Gerald W. Gross Park was converted to help with storage, but it is fully packed now. Some of our other assets are exposed to the weather with nothing more than a tarp for protection, or stored on private property.
Council is attempting to obtain a grant in the amount of $301,628 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to build a Public Works building that would be large enough to house all our equipment and vehicles, freeing up space in our other buildings. West Easton would contribute $50,000 toward the project.
The Public Works building would be built on the vacant tract of land on Ridge Street, recently acquired by the borough through condemnation. The 2017 budget allowed $90,000 toward a public works building, but none of it has been spent. A $90,000 building would be a bare bones structure and we have been holding off, waiting for this possibility of a grant to come about.
I’m hoping much better can be obtained for our community that will meet our needs for not only the present, but for the future.
As Chairman of the Grants Committee (and even as a taxpayer) I would like West Easton to obtain every grant available from the State and Federal levels where we are eligible. Grants received mean less is spent from our own general fund for the projects our borough needs. Less of our own money spent helps keep local taxes stable.
But this grant isn’t an easy one to obtain. Many communities apply for a grant from DCED and funding is limited. Some projects from communities with money may request more than $1 Million and, to make themselves more appealing for approval, these communities may contribute another 50% toward the project they want done.
What these other communities don’t do is get residents involved in trying to obtain the grant. This is allowed and can be done by sending letters to the DCED. Letters get noticed and that’s what I’m asking everyone to do – get West Easton noticed.
Send a letter to the DCED to show them that our community is involved with this proposed project and taking an active role in seeing it completed.
It doesn’t have to be long. Your name and address. A short paragraph or two asking for West Easton’s grant application for a Public Works Building to be approved.
Send your letter to:
Mr. Scott D. Dunkelberger, Executive Director
Commonwealth Financing Authority
Commonwealth Keystone Building
400 North Street, 4th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Our State representatives took time to provide their support of our proposed project. Representative Bob Freeman penned a letter, as did Senator Lisa Boscola. Both letters were included in the application packet for the grant.
Will you take 10 minutes and spend a postage stamp to improve our chances of saving our borough hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain a proper Public Works Building?