By Katie Crawford
The February 1st meeting of Swarthmore Borough Council began with borough resident Allan Ells addressing council with his recommendations regarding the approaching grand opening of the college inn. Ells conveyed his hopes and concerns that the college would acquire sufficient liquor liability insurance, noting that lifecare plans for injured persons can easily reach seven figures. He also recommended that council encourage Swarthmore College to secure TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures) for inn employees. TIPS is a “skill based training program designed to prevent intoxication, underage drinking, and drunk driving” (www.gettips.com).
In anticipation of the inn’s opening, a proposed new ordinance changing the mandated closing time of establishments from one a.m. to two a.m. was introduced by Government Committee chair Ross Schmucki, amending an old ordinance from the 1930s. This proposed new ordinance will be advertised on the borough website for further review by borough residents.
Visit Little Crum Creek Park
Council member and Environment Committee chair Lauren McKinney reported that the Environmental Advisory Council is looking at ways to encourage community members to spend more time in Little Crum Creek Park. A temporary art installation was recommended as one way to draw visitors, and the EAC is considering the possibility of forming a Friends of Little Crum Creek Park group. Council members approved the addition to the EAC of Aurora Winslade, the new sustainability director at Swarthmore College (see interview in January 29 Swarthmorean). Ms. Winslade attended the recent EAC open house, along with 25 residents and Swarthmore College students.
Street Tree Canopy
McKinney also commented on the recent Street Tree Committee meeting that she attended, noting how impressed she was by its work on the street tree program, which focuses on maintaining the tree canopy. The program encourages residents to plant more street trees, offers purchase and planting of appropriate trees at discounted prices, and asks residents to resist removing current street trees without first seeking consultation. McKinney informed the board about the Distinguished Tree program in which residents can nominate old trees for recognition.
Traffic Changes for Yale?
Council member David Creagan reported on a recent two-hour meeting held by the Public Safety Committee he chairs. The focus was the traffic on Yale Avenue between Chester Road and Swarthmore Avenue. Thirteen borough residents came to the meeting expressly to share their concerns about the traffic situation. There is currently a petition being circulated in support of traffic changes on Yale.
The Traffic Advisory Committee looked at five years of accident data and concluded that this particular stretch of road is indeed a good candidate for traffic calming measures. Council approved up to $5,000 for a traffic study to be conducted by the borough engineer which will result in three different recommendations. After the recommendations are received, the environmental effects of each alternative (e.g. flashing lights) will be vetted and residents, particularly those living along Yale Avenue, will be encouraged to offer their opinions.
Fire Truck Repair Cost
Council approved the payment of an unbudgeted expense to the fire department in the amount of $6,927.28 for the repair and towing of the department’s tower ladder truck. The repair to the truck could not be completed locally, which increased towing costs. While council unanimously approved this payment, there was discussion as to how this unbudgeted expense might affect the department’s budget allotment for next year. Council member McKinney asked when council was going to begin the discussion about the viability of our borough fire department. Creagan responded that this is a nationwide problem for which there are currently no concrete solutions.
There was widespread praise for foreman Cuzzy Rowles and the Public Works Department for their response to the recent snowstorm. In addition to clearing the town streets, borough employees also lent a truck to Wallingford-Swarthmore School District workers when their salt spreader suddenly stopped working. With the help of reminders on Nextdoor Swarthmore, the majority of residents cleared sidewalks within the 24-hour time frame with only five notices having to be sent for uncleared paths. Despite the overtime hours accrued as a result of the storm, borough manager Jane Billings assured council that the Public Works Department remains well within its projected budget.