Sparks fly as West Cocalico takes on fireworks

By on April 25, 2018

West Cocalico supervisors covered a lot of ground during the board meeting on April 17, talking about multiple road issues within the township, as well as bridge repairs, fireworks, high-speed traffic, and paving bids.

Public comment started out with resident Sue Knauer asking about a local property where she said the owner is storing a large number of water heaters, and vehicles that may not be properly registered and inspected.

“We have a lot of people coming through here,” Knauer said, citing the “junkyardishness” of the property in question. “It’s time to clean up again … they’ve got pieces and parts of trucks on one side, and water heaters on the other.”

Knauer also mentioned problems on a bridge over Little Cocalico Creek on Galen Hall Rd. where she said emergency vehicles have had a hard time navigating holes in the bridge. “It is a real safety issue — it’s soon a trench.” she said.

Supervisors chair James J. Stoner said to fix the bridge, the township would have to coordinate with the Penn Eastern railroad company, and that similar projects have taken years to complete.

Stoner also cited another safety issue nearby that has got his goat for months now — rubber stripping on a railroad crossing at 897 and Galen Hall Road by the Reinholds Inn that he feels is dangerous.

“These people on motorcycles — somebody’s going to get hurt really bad,” Stoner said.

Supervisors promised to look into both issues and speak to roadmaster Tom Showalter.

Another resident, Ray Leteer, had additional issues on Wollups Hill Road.

A tree cleanup, he said, destroyed drainage ditches, leading to standing water on the road after a storm.

“It’s just washing out over the roads,” Leteer said.

Stoner said the township’s assistant roadmaster may be able to look into the issue.

Leteer asked about township rules on fireworks, remembering this year’s Superbowl Sunday when the underdogs, the Philadelphia Eagles, pulled off a stunning upset over the New England Patriots, and some area residents, elated by Philly’s first Superbowl win in modern history, got a little rowdy.

“Some nut was setting off aerial rockets,” Leteer said. “I thought it was a truck blowing up. I don’t care if it’s the Superbowl or not. I just don’t think that anywhere near those homes is a place for fireworks.”

Leteer also expressed concern about the loss of body parts and damage to nearby property. “These kids don’t know how to handle them,” he said.

“There’s a place to have fireworks and a place not to,” Stoner said, suggesting Leteer talk to Ephrata police officers who attend every other township meeting to give reports.

Hildebrand said the township planning commission is preparing a draft ordinance on fireworks, and it’s being reviewed by the solicitor.

Another resident, Kurtis Bollinger, is concerned about speeding traffic on South Cocalico Road where he lives.

“They’re coming around the corner too fast, coming off the road,” Bollinger said of passing motorists, noting that he put in a solid steel mailbox post after he had moved in and got his mailbox smashed up by a passing car. Later, he said, another car hit the mailbox and actually flipped upside down.

Stoner said the township will work with the school district and look into the possibility of putting additional signage along the road. Supervisors vice chair Leon Eby said it might help to contact state representative Mindy Fee.

Later, supervisors awarded a paving bid of around $155,000 to New Enterprise.

Supervisor Jeff Sauder stressed the importance of sticking to a paving schedule.

“If we keep pushing the roads back, we’re going to get behind,” Sauder said.

On April 19, township manager Carolyn Hildebrand told the Ephrata Review that, by coincidence, the railroad company came April 18 and fixed the protruding rubber about which Stoner had expressed concern.

“We are very appreciative,” Hildebrand said.


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