In the last months of 2020, Gibson Township residents squared off with the supervisors over the plan – which threatened to take a piece of privately-owned property by eminent domain – to add a new access road and develop walking trails at Ervin Kaminski Memorial Park.
After reviewing an engineering study on the park access from Delta Engineers, Architects & Surveyors, the supervisors voted, at the Monday, Jan. 4, meeting to pursue two options: widening the existing driveway from Route 92 to the gate near the basketball court; and partially widening the driveway on Route 92 and extending that 100 feet towards the park.
Those options were the less costly of the four reviewed in the engineering study.
Supervisors said the eminent domain action for property initially wanted to create a new park access drive and add to the walking trails would be dropped as soon as the township gets Options 1 and 2 signed.
In Option 1, about 21 trees, two stumps and some large shrubs will need to be removed and a parking area for the residence on Route 92 would need to be relocated. The estimated cost of this option is about $158,500.
Option 2 is a portion of the work indicated in the first option, widening the drive for about 100 feet. This would allow for four to five vehicle to queue in the entrance drive while vehicles leaving the park pass by. The estimated cost of the option is about $41,200, according to the Delta study.
Supervisor Harold Shay advocated that the township pursue Options 1 and 2 and said the biggest thing they needed to do was to pinpoint the location of the residence’s septic system to make sure it is not under the driveway. He also noted the need to receive a driveway permit from PennDOT and mentioned the reinforcing the creek bank to keep the water from coming in on the road.
But, he warned, “This is not the kind of weather to start digging to see where the septic is. We need to wait until the weather is better – that’s my take on it.”
Supervisor Richard Marcho said the township would need to have an engineering plan for the access drive before PennDOT will come and issue the permit.
Several members of the audience questioned the need for project engineering prior to PennDOT reviewing the request and said they wished to see a letter from PennDOT.
Marcho said PennDOT will not come out and look at the site without the design but said they would contact PennDOT again to make check the information they were provided.
The supervisors agreed that Option 4 is off the table, stating that it is “too costly,” coming in at an estimated price of over $400,000. That option called for relocating the park access to Route 2071, acquiring property, and building a 640-feet drive, as well as clearly trees. That option would also likely involve adding a box culvert, and have other limitations, restrictions and requirements.
Audience members also advocated for the creation of a parks committee, with several people stepping up to say they would be involved.
The supervisors also voted to move forward with the creation of a township website, hiring a person to help create the website at a price of $300; with a charge of $20 per hour to train the supervisors on how to maintain the website.