Nether Providence Township Commissioners
By Claire Wolters
In a combined work and legislative session last Thursday, the Nether Providence Township board of Commissioners addressed safety concerns and approved bids for new infrastructure projects to begin this summer.
Projects included the addition of two speed humps on Meadow Lane, road resurfacing projects on Locust Lane (from Grandview Road to the end) and Scott Lane (from Moore Road to Windsor Place), and several sidewalk construction plans, the first to begin on Copples Lane next week. The township’s infrastructure budget for 2017 is insufficient to support all of the desired infrastructure upgrades, and the board has responded by adjusting the scope of construction plans. In street projects, the commissioners had hoped to resurface Windsor Place in addition to Locust and Scott, but found that paving the extra street would put them over budget for the year. Windsor was removed from the list, and the commissioners approved a bid from Joseph E. Sucher & Sons Inc. to pave the remaining two streets at a price not to exceed $180,000 for 2017.
The monthly police report supported the case for safer roads, with a total of 376 traffic citations issued during the month of May. The board hopes the addition of the speed humps on Meadow Lane will help to address this problem, and is exploring solutions such as additional stop signs and roughing up the pavement to curb speeding.
Walking the Walk
Sidewalk construction also poses tough choices, as the budget only has funds for one sidewalk project a year. This year’s sidewalk will be built on Copples Lane, with the intent of providing a buffer between traffic and neighborhood families, as well as a walkway to be used by students walking to and from Strath Haven Middle School. Continuing a steady upgrade of Nether Providence’s pedestrian network, the board hopes to implement three more sidewalk projects in the upcoming years.
Currently in the design stage are sidewalks on Moore Road, on E. Rose Valley Road (from Osborne Lane to Providence Road), and on E. Possum Hollow Road (from Wallingford Station to Providence Road). “Where we concentrate, with the limited funds we have, is to make the township more public-transit oriented and safer for kids,” said Commissioner Micah Knapp.
The importance of sidewalks was highlighted in a series of webinars on “walkability,” which is a measurement of how much access residents in a community have to safe and attractive walking routes. The webinars, sponsored by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), Montgomery County Planning Commission, and the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the Greater Philadelphia Region, discussed the need for communities to create accessible walking routes for mobility and physical health. Nether Providence’s Assistant Township Manager Dave Grady has been a lead speaker in these webinars, the third of which is entitled “Stepping Out,” will be held next Friday, June 23.
New Contract for Chief
Also on the agenda was the approval of a new contract for Police Chief David Splain. Splain has been working in law enforcement for 32 years; since 2013, he has overseen 15 officers as Chief of Police of Nether Providence Township. “Our police chief David Splain has been with us for almost five years now, and has done an outstanding, tremendous job,” said Board president Nate Much.
The board ratified an eight-year contract for Splain, effective as of June 1, at a salary of $111,862, and subject to “annual consideration for merit based raises.” The commissioners thanked Chief Splain for the good work he has done and is doing to sustain public safety in the community. Resident Anne Reuther thanked the Chief specifically for responding to a request she made at the last Commissioners’ meeting regarding speeding and illegal parking on Kershaw Road. Those in attendance were supportive of the new contract, and members of the board offered additional praises.