Twp. rail trail a step closer Church agreement gives big assist to effort
By: GARY P. KLINGER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer
An agreement signed last week between Ephrata Township and the Hope United Methodist Church on Rothsville Road has moved the proposed rail trail project to the next level.
The agreement was an easement giving the township permission to go around a retention pond and onto church property for the purpose of extending the rail trail. This eliminates the need to re-engineer that portion of the trail which would have been blocked by the retention pond had an agreement not been reached with the congregation.
"We are very appreciative of the United Methodist Church," stated chairman of the board of supervisors, Clark Stauffer, who explained that the retention pond had been built for Tapsco several years ago. "Without the church granting this easement, it would have been very costly to the township to reshape and redirect that in order to move forward."
Hope United Methodist Church granted the township the easement in exchange for $1.
Township solicitor Charles Sheidy was instrumental in working out the agreement between the church and the township.
"The congregation is very much in favor of seeing the rail trail move forward," stated Sheidy. "This easement is permanent, however if the township ever does abandon the trail the land would go back to the church. Also, we have existing insurance policies where we will mention that the church is an additional insured so that if someone got hurt on that little section of the trail, our insurance police would cover it."
Township Manager Steve Sawyer weighed in on the critical importance the easement has on the overall project.
"We could have made the trail work around the basin but now we can avoid it without the need for retaining walls," said Sawyer. "And to show how much in favor they are of the trail, there is a second agreement where they will allow their parking lot to be used in conjunction with the trail."
Sawyer said it would take a second agreement to define the terms where those using the trail could use the Hope United Methodist Church parking lot for a trail head, allowing those who wanted to use the trail to park on church property.
Stauffer said it would be appropriate for the township to issue a formal letter of thanks to the congregation as well as both the pastor and church member ,Bruce Tucker, who had been so instrumental in helping with the process. Stauffer added that the pastor had recently been re-assigned to a congregation in Columbia.
The supervisors were unanimous in voting to issue the thank you letter to the church.
In other township news, Ephrata Police Chief William Harvey issued a stern warning to residents of the area to be on the lookout for the annual door-to-door type of scams often perpetrated this time of the year. He noted the incidence of scam artists going door-to-door with offers, often sounding too good to be true, to complete work ranging from painting to driveway sealing, carpet cleaning and more.
"Please let the police know if anyone comes to the door," said Chief Harvey. "Please contact the police so that no constituents fall victim to these scam artists."
Harvey explained that all legitimate door-to-door vendors will be able to readily present both a PA Contractors Number certificate as well as a local vendors permit which would only be issued by Harvey himself. Anyone who fails to present both certificates is likely a scam artist and should be avoided.
In addition, Harvey reminded residents that any offer that seems too good to be true probably is. He warned against pressure being applied to make a quick or immediate decision and warned against placing huge deposits with people trying to appear to be door-to-door vendors.
Harvey reminded residents to call 911 any time they had questions or concerns, to be vigilant and most importantly to not let such vendors into the home. With an ounce of caution everyone should remain safe.
For additional information on Ephrata Township, visit ephratatownship.org. Gary P. Klinger welcomes your questions, comments and suggestions via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. More TOWNSHIP, page A18