Denver Council fields citizen concerns, OKs QOL ordinance

By on September 27, 2017

It was an atmosphere akin to a lively New England town hall gathering at the Sept. 25 meeting of Denver Borough Council.

Heartfelt comments included situations from the recent Denver Fair, noisy neighbors after 11 p.m., speeding, truck traffic in town, concerns about Friday night football game traffic with the one-lane South Fourth Street Bridge construction, poor maintenance of a steep hill adjacent to a section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike which runs through the borough, sidewalk maintenance requirements and a resident’s feeling that a small town like Denver doesn’t need any more ordinances.

“I can tell you this is more people than I’ve ever seen at a meeting during the years I’ve served on council,” said President Blake Daub. “Thank you for coming.”

Leading off 35 minutes of “Citizen’s Concerns,” was long-time Walnut Street resident Lee Arment.

He questioned why, during the Denver Fair which is held in Denver Park, the skatepark is closed when no other park play area is off limits during Fair Week.

Arment’s follow-up question dealt with a Sunday, early afternoon incident, the day after the fair ended. When a 12- and 13-year-old attempted to use the skatepark, they were told it was closed and that they should return at 5 p.m. if they wanted to use it. The manner in which they were treated was gruff and a threat was added, he said. If the boys didn’t leave they could be banned from using the skatepark for a year.

Arment’s son, Matthew, a professional skatepark designer and builder in Pennsylvania and other states, and a group of supporters, have spent thousands of dollars on improving Denver’s skatepark.

“When the multi-year, multi-phase project is completed, it will be one of the finest skateparks around,” Arment said. “The boys who attempted to use the skatepark that Sunday worked during the week at a stand at the Denver Fair where all proceeds go to skatepark improvements. The skatepark improvements over the last few years haven’t cost the borough or taxpayers a cent.”

Council members didn’t have an answer to either of Arment’s questions.

Borough Manager Mike Hession explained he wasn’t aware of the exact insurance conditions in the contract the Park Board uses when the Fair rents the park. The rental period is more than just the operating hours of the Fair, as time is required for set-up of concessions and rides plus tear-down.

Council agreed this question as well as another resident’s complaint regarding rude treatment of a parent and teenager sitting on a park bench at the top of the baseball diamond, might best be dealt with by conversation with representatives from the park board, fair committee, and recreation board.

Hession said the park association meets Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. at the Shober Family Scout House. It would be a good time for all parties to discuss the issues.

Most other resident concerns were dealt with by explaining current ordinance requirements, legal clarifications by Police Chief Terry Arment, or other suggestions about how to proceed.

Resident and former Councilman Mike Cohick suggested residents contact their state representatives to say they want local police to be able to use radar. Councilman, John Palm concurred that this would help police enforce speed limits. Palm said municipalities, including Denver, have sent letters to legislators stating their support for radar use.

“Nothing’s happened,” he said.

Public comment for the Quality of Life Ordinance, which passed, yielded several resident questions.

Specific violations covered by the ordinance include: weeds, parking vehicles on grass, furniture on the exterior of property, accumulation of waste, improper location and storage of rubbish containers, animal waste accumulations and unlicensed or uninspected vehicles on property.

Clarification was given regarding parking on the grass. The intent is to not park vehicles on lawn at the front of the house. Furniture pertains to furniture normally found indoors, not patio furniture.

“When you live in a borough, you have a responsibility to your neighbor,” said Councilman and life-long resident Mike Gensemer. “What you do affects your neighbor. We want people coming into Denver to see that this is a nice place to live.”

“I commend the borough for finally taking a stand on these issues,” said resident Diane Fichthorn. “Things have been sliding for a while.”

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One Comment

  1. maribeth petery

    September 27, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    I am perplexed about the reasons that speeding can not be curbed through enforcement in our town. Speeding is a problem on many streets, including N 4th where I live. How do police in other communities deal with this problem? This needs follow up and study, not just blame placed on the lack of radar for our police force.

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