Reamstown park, cemetery are victims of vandalism

By on July 25, 2012

By: ALICE HUMMER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

The gravestones of Revolutionary War veteran Marcus Montelius (1752-1805) and Christiana, his wife (d. 1830) were among those vandalized recently at the Salem Union Cemetery. (Photo by Ken McCrea)

East Cocalico Township supervisors advised citizens to be on alert in the wake of vandalism at Reamstown Memorial Park and Salem Union Cemetery.

"We’re experiencing a mini crime wave," Police Chief George Beever reported to supervisors at their workshop meeting on July 19.

The park, in the last few weeks, has had broken glass littering blacktop areas, graffiti on buildings, tennis court nets removed, and tombstones pushed over and some late 1890s tombstones damaged in the cemetery across the street from the park.

Possibly as many as 20 to 30 gravestones were toppled and/or broken. One that was smashed was over 200 years old and marked the grave of a Revolutionary War veteran, according to Reamstown resident Ken McCrea.

"We’ve also had some other bizarre stuff which I don’t want to detail right now," Beever said.

If there is any good news in all of this, it’s that "we have some very good leads," the Chief said.

"We’re trying to make a nice park," Supervisor Alan Fry said, "and it’s a shame that people are vandalizing it."

Chairman Doug Mackley emphasized that residents should report any suspicious activity. Chief Beever requests that if anyone has any information on the vandalism in the park and cemetery should contact Det. Keith Neff at 336-1725.

Chief Beever noted that since January nine police calls had the Reamstown Park as the destination. In all but two instances, police were on the scene in an average response time of five minutes. In those two incidents, one time all on-duty police were involved in a domestic situation, while the other incident involved a motorcycle crash.

Also at the meeting, East Cocalico Manager Mark Hiester asked supervisors to consider a deed of dedication, acceptance of additional right of way adjacent to Stone Hill Road as well as releasing financial security, after conditions outlined in a letter from Becker Engineering are met for the Kaoldy property.

Supervisor Noelle Fortna inquired as to why the board didn’t act on this at the regular meeting the night before.

"The paperwork came in yesterday and things were too rushed," said Hiester.

In other business:

? Supervisors granted the deed of dedication and adopted Resolution 2012-11 covering the other items for the Kaoldy property.

? The roadmaster’s report highlighted the large number of storm drains needing repair work.

"The block used in many of the older storm drains deteriorates," said Hiester. "The road crew is trying to get an inventory of all of our storm drains."

? Hiester reported that transportation engineer Scott Russell could teach road workers the process to evaluate a road.

? Reamstown Community Swimming Pool revenue for June is higher than last June and expenses are lower.

At the supervisor’s regular meeting on July 18, history was made due to the shortness of the meeting — less than one-half hour. Highlights from the supervisor’s meeting include:

? East Cocalico Fire Township police were approved to assist Ephrata Fire Police on Sept. 26 for the Ephrata Fair Parade.

? The approval was given to release funds in the amount of $32,800 to the Rissler Estate. The Stevens property, following the tragic house fire, is completely cleaned up.

? The solicitor was authorized to draft a blight ordinance. In 2010, Pennsylvania passed an ordinance to help townships and municipalities deal more effectively with blighted properties.

? Supervisors agreed to keep the monthly flat rate of $85 per month for truck parking at 1975 N. Reading Road and not get into the "bookkeeping nightmare" of reduced rental fees for less than one month’s time. Monitoring truck parking for less than one month’s time would be difficult.

? Boy Scouts, Richard Portman and Griffin Roth, who are working on their Citizenship and Community Badge, were recognized. More VANDALISM, page A10

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