Springfield Township Engineer Mark Eisold gives a presentation on a plan to make improvements to Mermaid Park.

by Betsy Wallace

The Springfield Township Board of Commissioners holds monthly public workshop meetings to discuss issues, neighborhood complaints and the agenda for its Business Meetings. Here’s a snapshot of the issues discussed at the Nov. 11 Workshop meeting.

Township Police shooting range noise – Wissahickon and Stenton Avenues

Residents living on Wissahickon Avenue complained about the increased noise. Mike Taylor, Township Manager, reported that Erdenheim Farms, which breeds thoroughbreds near the shooting range, proposed building a roof over the range to dampen the sound. The next step would be to have a sound engineer assess whether or not a roof would reduce noise adequately.

Charging stations for electric cars

The township installed two charging stations for electric cars on the public library property on Hawthorn Lane. They are open for use.

Traffic study – Franklin Avenue (cut-through road between Haws Lane and Bethlehem Pike)

An eight-day traffic study results showed that 3,000 cars used the road during the day. The busiest times for both directions of traffic are the morning commuter rush from 7-9 a.m. and during the afternoon from 3-4 p.m. Police recommend greater speed enforcement methods. Residents attending the meeting specifically wanted speed cushions. The BOC will revisit the use of speed cushions in 2020.

Traffic study – Haws Lane access to Lucon Road during heavy traffic periods

The study also found that 39,947 vehicles traveled Haws Lane near Lucon Road during an eight-day period. About 26% (9,987) were going over the current speed limit of 35 mph. Recommendations included removing a tree from the corner of Haws and Church that prevents drivers from seeing traffic when making turns and engaging in greater speed limit enforcement.

Mermaid Park – Master Concept plan for improvements

Mark Eisold, Township Manager, gave a short update on the Township’s plans for improvements to the Mermaid Park in Wyndmoor. The project will include dredging the existing pond, installing a tall grass meadow around the north side of the pond to help clean runoff into the pond and to deter geese, aerating the pond, planting shade trees to protect the pond from the sun and creating an eight-foot wide walking trail around the circumference of the park. Eisold estimated that the cost for the improvements would be about $250,000, some of which will be covered by grant money from various sources, including the PECO Green Region Grant Program.

The Master Concept plan for Mermaid Park will look to institute several significant improvements to the space, including the creation of a new walking trail around the park.

2020 budget meeting schedule

The BOC’s proposed budget for 2020 includes an increase in the yearly Trash Fee of $9.10 (from $214 to $223/year). There will be no increase in taxes for Springfield residents. The BOC will vote on the 2020 budget at its Business Meeting on Dec. 11.

Yard waste program update

The state Department of Environmental Protection gives the Township grant money to run its recycling program. The DEP wants the Township to collect yard waste year-round instead of seasonally. The DEP approved the Township’s recent proposal to eliminate grass clippings from yard waste pick-up, which would make more frequent yard waste pickups economically feasible. Beginning in 2020, the Township will conduct yard waste pickup on a weekly basis throughout the year. Grass clippings will go into regular trash bags (not the brown paper bags) and will be treated as regular trash.

Curb My Clutter initiative – collaboration with Township

Curb My Clutter is a for-profit organization collaborating with Montgomery County and many of its municipalities, including Springfield Township, to increase the recycling of used electronics and clothing. Curb My Clutter will do door-to-door pickup of clothing and electronics (TVs and computer monitors) from residents upon request at any time. Most of the recycling pickup is free. There are fees for a variety of computer monitors and microwaves with a cathode-ray tube (CRT) and TVs. The Township wants to further spread the word about this underused program.

Historic Resource Overlay District – Draft ordinance

The Township’s Planning Commission’s draft ordinance creates an “opt-in” historic overlay district and a historic resource commission to oversee ordinance implementation. Owners of historically significant structures who “opt-in” to the special historic overlay district receive broader flexibility regarding the what they can do in the historic structure, but any proposed changes to the exterior of the building (including teardowns) have to be approved by the historic resources commission. The BOC is ready to schedule public hearings on the draft ordinance within the next two months.

Tank car property – Industrial Site Reuse Fund

The township plans to clean up the tank car site and convert into a playing field. The estimated cost for the cleanup is $136,000, most of which could be covered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Industrial Site Reuse Fund. If the Township receives those funds, it will have to match the grant with about $34,000. Appraisals of the site’s property value were widely divergent. A lawsuit is pending regarding a final assessment of the property value.

Resident complaints

Gypsy Lane – There are complaints of frequent electric power outages during storms. The Township Manager will ask PECO to take a look at the problem in the area.

417 and 419 Haws Ln. – Stormwater runoff from Haws Lane was brought up as another issue. The Township Manager will ask the Township Engineer to assess whether changes to the roadway would reroute stormwater away from properties.

Weiss Avenue (between Mill Road and Bethlehem Pike) – Storms have been causing damage to trees in the area. The Township is aware of the problem and has contacted the property owner to clean the area up and remove the damaged trees. The owner has not responded.

Township residents can listen to the audiotape of the entire workshop meeting by contacting Mike Taylor, Township Manager, at 215-836-7600. Check the Township website for all public meeting agendas, minutes and video recordings of the Township Business meetings.