Something is a-brewin’ in Ephrata
It appears there are plenty of things brewing in and around the downtown shopping district of Ephrata Borough. With winter barely past, plans are already afoot for events to be held this coming fall and winter.
One such event is the borough’s first-ever BrewFest. Ephrata Borough Council green-lighted the event at the recommendation of the Community Services Committee during last week’s council meeting.
This first-ever tasting event is to be held in conjunction with the Merchants Association’s Arts and Crafts and Restaurant Fair on Saturday, Sept. 6 between 12 and 4 p.m. South State Street from Main Street to West Franklin Street is to be closed to provide space for the event.
Mayor Ralph Mowen’s Vision Committee is planning the event.
“We are still working on a list of potential vendors,” stated Mowen, explaining that thus far a firm list of breweries and micro-breweries had yet to be established. “We are also working with volunteers to contact potential vendors and sponsors.”
Similar to such events held in other municipalities, access into the event will be carefully controlled and regulated through use of a special hand stamp.
Last Monday night’s approval is conditional on submission of a plan which will describe the logistics of the event to the satisfaction of Police Chief William Harvey. A receipt of insurance naming the Borough as an additional insured has already been filed with the borough.
Also relative to local interest in micro-breweries, efforts by Robert Harter to bring his vision of a local micro-brew pub into existence moved a step closer as council approved Harter’s request to waive the formal planning process for a proposed 900-square-foot building to be used as his brew pub on the existing bed and breakfast property located at 301 West Main Street.
“This is going to be a very small operation with very limited hours,” explained Development Activities Committee chair Susan Rowe. “It is going to be a small micro-brewery that also serves snacks.”
Work on the site is already underway with completion hoped for by the end of the year. The proposed new 20-seat building has been approved by the Zoning Hearing Board. It will replace a 265-square-foot shed which has already been removed from the location.
In other Development Activities Committee news, council agreed to move consideration for the purchase of the property at 35 East Fulton to the next phase. Consideration continues with a more in-depth environmental study which comes with an unbudgeted expenditure of $8,343.
A Phase I report on the location indicated there were three possible sources of environmental concern, including chemicals which may have been released into the building, based on visible staining of the walls. It also needs to be determined where drains located in the floors of the building empty out. A second concern is the release of historic petroleum products from a former oil storage tank site as well as historic release of petroleum products from private garage and fuel oil distribution areas.
This second phase of the study will determine if these potential areas of concern contain any environmental issues.
Though months away, plans are already underway for the annual Christmas celebration, including the much-anticipated arrival of Santa Claus on the Friday after Thanksgiving. When Santa arrives this year on Nov. 28, he will find that Main Street has been closed from State Street to Lake Street. Council approved the road closure for the tree lighting and Santa arrival from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
In a timely measure which coincided with National Police Week, council voted to support a resolution in favor of local municipalities being allowed to start using radar to enforce traffic speed laws. Currently, only Pennsylvania State Police are authorized to do so.
“This is something the Pennsylvania State Mayors’ Association has been working on for over 10 years,” stated Mowen. “This is the closest we have ever gotten, with 19 senators co-sponsoring the bill. That is a substantial number.”
While the bill has yet to come out of committee in Harrisburg, hopes are high that this will be the year.
Not only is radar equipment more accurate, it is more efficient to use. A single officer can operate a speed detail whereas currently it takes two or even three officers to set it up and operate it.
Mowen issued a proclamation in celebration of 2014 National Police Week.
“Members of the law enforcement agency of Ephrata play an essential role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms of citizens of Ephrata,” stated Mowen. “It is important that all citizens know and understand the problems, duties and responsibilities of their police department and that members of our police department recognized their duty to serve the people by safeguarding life and property, by protecting them against violence and disorder and by protecting the innocent against deception and the weak against oppression or intimidation.”
In his proclamation, Mowen set Thursday, May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day in honor of those peace officers who, through their courageous deeds, have lost their lives or have become disabled in the performance of their duty.
For additional information on Ephrata Borough, please visit their website at www.ephrataboro.org. Gary P. Klinger welcomes your feedback via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter at www.twitter.com/gpklinger.