Supervisor Weber honored upon his retirement from Ephrata Township

By on January 17, 2018

Ephrata Township Supervisor John Weber was honored for his more than 50 years of service with a citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, presented by Rep. David H. Zimmerman early Tuesday morning.

Weber, who is 88, retired from his post as township supervisor at the end of 2017.

“It is a real honor to present this citation to John, who I’ve known for a long time,” Zimmerman said. “He’s served Ephrata Township from the time when he was on the planning commission and the zoning board, and then as a supervisor.

“A lot of changes have occurred over that time, a lot of growth has happened in the township and John has crafted a lot of ordinances,” Zimmerman said.

The citation lauds Weber for his “well-deserved honor,” and states that he is a role model “worthy of emulation.”

The honor is given to citizens, who, through their dedication, bring pride to themselves, their communities, and the Commonwealth, according to the House citation.

“It is my privilege to present this citation to John for his many years of service,” Zimmerman said.

Born and raised in Ephrata, Weber is a retired contractor and business owner, who began his service to the township as a member of the Planning Commission and Zoning Hearing Board.

He was elected to the Ephrata Board of Supervisors in 1987.

Weber said he was very pleased to be honored by the state.

“This is a very nice honor and I appreciated receiving this citation from the House of Representatives,” Weber said. “Dave (Zimmerman) is very concerned about the local townships in his district.”

Weber has seen many changes in his township through the years, he said, with one of the more noticeable being the increased population.

“We’ve experienced a lot of growth; when I first started, the population was about 4,500, and today, we’ve exceeded 10,000,” Weber said.

The township had the foresight and prudence to guide some of that growth to try to keep the rural feel of the area, he added.

“About two-third of the township is zoned agricultural and even though we had a lot of growth, we retained our agricultural community, and I think that is important,” Weber said.

Most of the development has sprung up around Route 322, the major highway that cuts through the township, he said.

“It’s been a pleasure to see the changes in the township, but I hope we can move ahead in the right direction,” Weber said.

One of his concerns for the future of the township centers on the increase in traffic through the area.

“Traffic is a big issue, but there’s not much we can do about it, other than continuing to work with PennDOT on traffic matters,” Weber said.

Weber also hopes that the township will continue to keep that feel of community and hold onto its rural heritage, he added.

Steve Sawyer, township manager, said Weber was someone they could always count on to keep the township’s interests foremost.

“He has done so much for the township,” Sawyer said. “In those 30 years as a supervisor, like he said, he’s seen considerable growth and he’s been very involved in many projects.”

It was Weber who provided the big push behind creating the Ephrata Township Community Park, a 50-acre park that was a former sand quarry.

“He was very adamant and determined that the community needed a park,” Sawyer said. “He’s done so many things, but this stands out.”

The entire project took about 10 years, from the land being purchased by the township, to where the park could be open to visitors, Sawyer said.

“It certainly didn’t look anything like it does today,” Sawyer said. “It took a considerable amount of work, there were old remnants of the mining operation, equipment lying around…fairly desolate.”

All along the way, Weber believed in the project and kept pushing for a green park to be enjoyed by the local folks.

“This was definitely one of the projects he was very interested in; he was a strong proponent of developing a community park,” Sawyer said.

Today, the park has a baseball diamond, a picnic pavilion, a playground, and even a lake and a number of walking trails, and has become a preferred destination for the community.

Weber also played a part in designing Ephrata Township’s municipal building, while also overseeing its construction.

Weber’s citation reads, in part “The strength of our communities and the overall vitality of American society depend, in great measure, upon the dedication of individuals such as Mr. Weber, who use their considerable talents, energies, and resources to serve others.”

Serving the community for so many years did take a significant amount of time, and Weber is looking forward to some relaxation now, he said.

“If my health holds, we want to do some traveling,” Weber said. “We’ve done some in the past, but now we have the freedom to do more.”

Taking Weber’s place as a township supervisor will be the newly-elected Tony Haws.

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