Deer Lake awaits funding for long-awaited projects

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Deer Lake Borough Council, in a meeting on April 19, focused on efforts to repair and rebuild the dam, walking path and recreation areas.

The borough is seeking grants and permits to repair and rebuild the dam, walking path and recreation areas.

Mayor Larry Kozlowski briefed council on the dam project, which is the borough’s primary focus, according to council chairman David Crouse.

For several years, various projects have been postponed due to lack of funding or political support. This prompted Councilman Joe Sterns to contact U.S. Representative Dan Meuser for federal assistance.

On April 21, a staff member from Meuser’s office met with council members to tour the lake area, seeing firsthand the urgent need for maintenance. Meuser’s office offered to help the borough secure matching funds for pending grants for dams, playgrounds, and bridges.

“This money must be in our hands or in our account before the grant can be used,” Crouse said. “The money for the dam is first and foremost and must be reserved for us.”

Sterns expressed optimism that the borough will move forward with the dam project as well as work on the Drehersville highway bridge and grove, adding, “I salute Mayor Kozlowski’s relentless pursuit to revitalize our community.

The borough applied for a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the amount of $250,000 for the floodway and dam area.

In addition, FEMA’s risk mitigation grant program is progressing. Kozlowski said this is the largest project undertaken by the borough and does not require any local correspondence. The total federal and state grants amount to $1.255 million and will address stormwater issues throughout the borough.

Zoning, code enforcement

A discussion regarding the duties of the Borough Zoning Officer and Code Enforcement Officer resulted in the decision that HMS Code Enforcement Officer Nick Hazlett will deal with ongoing issues and existing in the borough.

Hazlett was given the authority to issue a notice of violation and citations to residents if necessary. This position ensures compliance with ordinances related to zoning, public nuisance abatement, building codes and property maintenance.

Hazlett reported complaints about a property in the 200 block of Lake Front Drive. The house was abandoned in March 2020 and then condemned. Neighbors have complained of odors, animal droppings and mold on the property. Hazlett has been in contact with the US Environmental Protection Agency, with no solution offered. The borough will close the property, which should be put up for sale shortly.

Ralph Hummel of Lehigh Engineering, zoning agent, will handle new construction or development. It is responsible for approving or disapproving all zoning use permits.

Mayors report

The Board discussed scheduling a meeting with PennDOT regarding a possible exit to Route 61 in the Pines area. Access to the northbound lanes of Route 61 has been an issue since the construction of the Jersey Barrier on Route 61.

Volunteers mobilize

Sandy Breslin, a borough volunteer, informed council that she plans to mulch and weed the playground and grove before the summer season. The fences will also be repaired and the stone redone around the pavilion.

Laura Ranck has asked for volunteers to help clean up the grove scheduled for Saturday, April 30 from 9 a.m.

A community day meeting is scheduled for May 24 at the lodge to discuss the upcoming movie night (May 27) and community day (TBA).

Resident Jeff Gelting, a retired electrician, volunteered to install lights in the grove and basketball area. The board approved a motion for the work. No dollar amount was specified.

other business

Crouse reiterated that the borough would use milling and tailings remnants from the Overlook paving project to repair potholes in the fire company’s parking lot. Work is expected to begin on Overlook Terrace the first week of June.

The board agreed to advertise for a borough secretary/treasurer after Charles Hafer advised the board in December that he was considering stepping down.

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