DOWNTOWN EAST STROUDSBURG STREETSCAPE PROJECT
This summer, construction is set to begin in Downtown East Stroudsburg on long-planned Lighting and Pedestrian Safety Improvements. The Streetscape Project, which has been in development for several years, will include improvements to the downtown area bounded by Crystal Street to Washington St., Washington Street to S. Courtland St., South Courtland Street to Analomink St., and Analomink St. back to Crystal St. The work is being funded by a PennDOT Transportation Enhancement Grant of $396,000, and a New Communities Main Street Program Grant in the amount of $275,000 recently approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). Bids were opened earlier this year and a contract has now been awarded to Wyoming Electric & Signal Co., Inc. in the amount of $661,804, after receipt of the additional DCED funding.
New ornamental light posts and lighting fixtures will be installed along the above streets, replacing the old “daisy lights” along Crystal St. and the walkway to Dansbury Terrace. In addition, the new lights will replace in most cases the existing overhead utility-owned lighting. New thermoplastic crosswalk markings will be installed at existing crosswalks, and a new crosswalk with bulb-out sidewalks will be constructed on South Courtland St. at the end of the walkway that extends from Courtland St. up to Crystal St. New sidewalk refuse containers and sidewalk benches will also be purchased and installed in the downtown area.
Vollmer Associates, Inc. (now Stantec Consulting Services, Inc.) was the design consultant on this project. A committee of residents worked on the project concept design and came up with recommendations for the style of lighting posts and fixtures and other accessories. Originally the scope of the project also included extensive wayfaring signage to be installed in the downtown area, but PennDOT changed the funding guidelines for use of Transportation Enhancement Grants midway through the project design and those items were no longer considered eligible costs. Cost escalations also resulted in limiting this phase of the proposed project to the immediate one-block downtown area described above. The Borough hopes to be able to obtain additional Enhancement funding in the future to extend the project to additional streets in the downtown area.
While this phase of the Streetscape Project does not include any traffic signal work, the Borough will also simultaneously be installing new pedestrian signal heads at the South Courtland St./Washington St. intersection. This intersection, while probably the oldest signalized intersection in the Borough, has not had pedestrian signals before and was the scene of a fatal hit and run accident several years ago. Bids for the pedestrian signal work will be opened this summer in conjunction with bids for installation of a new traffic signal at the Normal Street and Prospect St. intersection on the East Stroudsburg University campus.
OWNER-OCCUPIED HOME REHABILITATION GRANTS AVAILABLE
Residents of East Stroudsburg Borough who own and reside in their own homes are eligible to receive grant funds to pay for improvements to their home needed to bring the residence into code compliance. Funds can be obtained to pay for energy conservation and safety improvements including (but not limited to): roof or furnace replacement, foundation repairs, electrical system upgrades, window replacements, and removal of lead-based paint.
Eligibility for grant assistance is based on household income for the entire family. The federal income guidelines (for low and moderate income families) are a sliding scale based on family size, and change each year. For the 2008 year, for example, a household of three persons can have an income of up to $45,950 and be eligible for a home rehabilitation grant. If you receive a grant, you must continue to own and live in the residence for a specified period of years, or else a portion of the grant must be repaid.
Funding for this home rehabilitation program is provided by the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program administered by the Borough of East Stroudsburg. Each year the Borough receives federal funds through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the CDBG Program and the Borough typically utilizes $40-50,000 per year for home rehab. projects. The maximum amount of funds that may be utilized for one residence is $20,000, without special approval.
The Redevelopment Authority of Monroe County (RAMC) administers all phases of the home rehabilitation program for the Borough, from initial applications to awarding of contracts for agreed-upon repair work. Application information is confidential; and applications are accepted on a first-come first-serve basis. Senior citizen residents of the Borough, in particular, are encouraged to apply for these home rehabilitation grants. For information on the home rehabilitation grants, contact the RAMC Office located at 15 South Courtland Street at (570) 421-4300.
CDBG funds received and expended by the Borough are administered without regard to race, color, religion, ancestry, sex, national origin, handicap or disability, or familial status. The Borough seeks to ensure equal opportunity in housing and appoints a Fair Housing Officer. Any person who thinks they have been discriminated against because of the above conditions may contact John E. Blick at the East Stroudsburg Municipal Building located at 24 Analomink Street, at (570) 421-8300. For information on the CDBG program, contact Manager James S. Phillips at the Municipal Office at the same number.
PROPERTY ACQUIRED BY BOROUGH FOR NEW FIRE STATION
East Stroudsburg Borough has acquired a portion of the former Cooper Industries industrial facility located off Chestnut Street, to be renovated into a new Fire Station for the Borough’s Volunteer Fire Department, Acme Hose Company No. 1. The former Cooper Plant, which operated under various names in the Borough for over 60 years, closed in 2002. The Borough acquired a 0.9 acre parcel at the northwest corner of the property which includes the former Maintenance Shop. This portion of the building was built in the 1970’s. The Borough will be renovating approximately 10,000 sq. ft. of building space into the new Fire Station. Schoonover and Vanderhoof, LLC, Architects of East Stroudsburg are preparing the building plans for the project.
Currently the Fire Department still operates out of the original 1926 Municipal Building located at 56 South Courtland Street. This facility, while serving the needs of the Borough for over 80 years, is not especially suited to the requirements of modern fire apparatus. The size of Fire Pumper trucks makes it a tight fit for trucks to fit into the garage doors which are only ten feet wide. The Department has to be careful backing its 94 foot aerial tower truck into the garage, because the rear of the garage area is situated over a coal cellar. Increased traffic on South Courtland Street makes it difficult at many times of the day for fire trucks to get in and out of the old Fire Station safely. In addition, the building was going to need major maintenance work over the next few years if the Fire Company remained in the building. Windows, the heating system, and roof were all going to need replacement. Borough Council, at the request of the Fire Company, made the decision several years ago to look at obtaining property for a new Fire Station, and after over a year of negotiations, closed on the Chestnut St. property acquired from R.D. Associates in November 2007.
The Borough will soon be obtaining approval of the site plan for exterior improvements on the property including storm drainage, parking, sidewalks, and lighting, and this work should go out for bids this summer 2008. A total of 48 parking spaces will be provided which is double the parking available at the current Fire Station. While not situated directly on Business Route 209, this location is fairly central to the entire Borough and will be easier for many of the Company’s volunteers to reach the Station quickly.
Preliminary plans for the inside of the Fire Station include a garage area of over 3,500 sq. ft. which will be more than enough to handle the fire apparatus needs of the Borough for the foreseeable future. In addition to meeting rooms for the Fire Department and its officers, the new Station will feature increased office and equipment storage areas, a communication room which can also double as an emergency operations center (EOC) for the Borough, and a kitchen and social room for Fire Company members. It is estimated that the total cost of renovations at the facility will exceed $1,200,000. The Borough anticipates that proceeds from the sale of the former International Boiler Works (IBW) property will be used by the Borough to pay for the balance of project costs.
Acme Hose Company No. 1 is an all-volunteer Fire Department that has proudly provided fire protection services to East Stroudsburg Borough since the formation of the Fire Company in 1893. The Department currently has 40 members, and is always looking for new members, men or women, willing to serve their community. For further information on the Fire Company, contact Chief William Miller at the Fire Station at 421-5694.