When: Columbia Borough Council meeting, Sept. 13.
What happened: Council members waived downtown parking fees for four days of the nine-day Discover Columbia Week shopping promotion, which runs from Sept. 23 to Oct.1.
Details: Participants can park free of charge on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 23 and 24, and Friday and Saturday, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. The Columbia Merchants Association originally had asked for free parking for the entire festival.
Quotable: “I have a hard time authorizing a week of free parking at the end of September when most of the stuff is happening Fridays and Saturdays,” borough President Heather Zink said. “I worry that the free parking is going to be used by others and not the people you’re trying to attract.”
New app: In addition, the borough’s new parking program, ParkMobile, is now active, which means people can pay for parking through their phones and should receive alerts if their time is about to expire. “We’re making it much easier to pay for parking,” Zink said.
Events: A beer walk, architectural and dungeon tours, chili cook-off, bourbon-tasting event and an arts and crafts fair are just some of the planned activities. In addition, prizes up to $500 may go to participants who visit a certain number of merchants and turn in a punch card. Go to discovercolumbia.com for more information.
New officers: Council members approved hiring three police officers and put a fourth in line for hire should one of the first three withdraw an application.
Quotable: “This is getting to be a real problem,” Mayor Leo Lutz said about the borough losing would-be officers to other municipalities. For instance, Lutz noted Columbia lost one possible candidate about two weeks ago because of another job offer.
More info: One new hire is ready to serve, while two need to complete Police Academy training. Two hires will replace officers who left the police department while a third should fill a spot when someone retires, Lutz said.
Plastic pickup: About 100 volunteers will remove plastic trash from the Susquehanna River Oct. 15 and 16 after council approved the third annual Great Plastic Purge on the Lower Susquehanna. Plastic pickers will work from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both days.
What’s next: Council will meet at 7 p.m. Sept. 27. The meeting will be streamed on the borough’s Facebook page.