Elizabethtown Borough sign

When: Elizabethtown Borough Council meeting, in-person with full council and mayor on the dais for the first time in almost 15 months, May 20.

What happened: Council dropped plans for sidewalks on Groff Avenue, further considered long-delayed 56 N. Market St. renovations, voted to lower weight limits on two bridges and approved loosening COVID-19 restrictions at borough facilities.

Groff Avenue: Considering the lack of enthusiasm expressed by residents and an estimated $1.5 million price tag, council members expressed reluctance go through with plans to add sidewalks and curbing the length of Groff Avenue, from South Market Street to the borough line near the intersection with Campus Road. Paving of the street itself will proceed as previously planned. The decision did not require a vote.

Quotable: “It’s difficult to justify spending up to ($1.5 million) on it when folks are not lining up to demand it,” council President J. Marc Hershey said.

North Market Street: After delaying the project a second time last year due to COVID-19, council again considered future renovations to 56 N. Market St. The plan remains unchanged to move borough offices and chamber at 600 S. Hanover St. to 56 N. Market St. while allowing the police department to expand at the borough building on Hanover Street. The total cost could be as high as $6 million for work on both sites, council members said. A contract with Lobar Inc. of Emmaus is valid until Dec. 31. Council member Thomas Shaud and Hershey expressed reservations about the plan, while other members argued in favor of the North Market Street location.

Bridge resolution: Council unanimously passed a resolution to reduce weight limits on two bridges in the borough, at Apple Alley and North Cherry Alley, after structural fatigue was noticed on a recent biannual inspection.

COVID-19 protocols: Anticipating the May 31 lifting of most restrictions in Pennsylvania, Borough Manager Rebecca Denlinger requested permission to remove signs requiring mask-wearing in all borough facilities. The signs will be replaced by ones emphasizing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for unvaccinated people to continue wearing masks indoors. Additionally, council meetings will no longer be available via Zoom beginning in June. Several council members, in response to comments by members of the public, agreed that future meetings should be made available to the public in some live broadcast or streaming fashion.

Next meeting: Council will meet June 3.

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