Aug 04, 2023

Nothing set in stone yet over Eldred Twp. bridge

The debate continued over the fate of the stone bridge in Kunkletown.

During the Eldred Township supervisors meeting on Aug. 16, residents on one side said they want the township to apply for a Local Share Account grant in September to help cover the expenses to fix the Stone Arch Bridge, which is located near the Eldred Township Historical Society.

On the other side are the supervisors who say there isn’t enough information to complete the application.

Gary Hoffman, the chairman of the supervisors, said, “I feel we do not have the information to apply for a grant.”

Resident Marianne Clausen said, “I do think it would be a shame if the board passes by this opportunity that has a lot more going for it than any other grant that you’re going to find.”

Hoffman said a professional mason, who specializes in old stone structures like the bridge, looked it over in late July and said the preliminary cost for just the mason work is roughly $300,000. That doesn’t include permits, engineering and other costs the township that could come up.

“We do not have enough information,” Hoffman said.

Supervisor Blaine Silfies said, “Especially for the grant that we need for the water diversionary and everything else. We can apply for that grant, but again we have no idea what that entails because we don’t have bid specs for that.”

Clausen said she still thinks they have enough information to at least try to get some funding through the grant coming due in September.

Silfies said, “I don’t think there’s a big rush on it.”

Hoffman said the mason who looked over the bridge is providing information to the township engineer, Hanover Engineering. The mason also recommended that the vegetation be cleared away from the bridge, because it traps in moisture. Pulling it away will allow the stone to dry. Public Works Department director Jonathan Gula said his crew would start removing some of that vegetation.

In other business, Gula told the supervisors that the township has had nothing but trouble with a new Case backhoe, almost since they bought it in December.

Gula said the $140,000 backhoe had so many parts that needed fixing that it racked up at least $100,000 in repairs. Fortunately, it was all under warranty. The one problem though was the bucket. Case was willing to replace the backhoe, but the township would have to pay for the bucket. Gula said no and that he was willing to go to a different manufacturer. It all worked out for the township.

“We got the new, new backhoe. It sits in the garage, and Case ate the price for $6,000 for the bucket,” he said.

The department also has been busy patching roads and putting down oil, and it is working on a plan to replace the roof on the municipal building including the post office section.

Gula said the garage doesn’t need a new roof, because it was replaced in 2009.

The cost for a new roof is in the budget, so the supervisors approved having the township engineer prepare the bid specs to replace the roof.

Ann Velopolcek, the chairwoman of the Parks and Recreation committee and secretary for the township, reported that the committee had postponed its meeting until 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29, so it can meet with a representative from Wood Landscaping.

Velopolcek also said committee member JoAnn Bush wants to resign because she is traveling. Megan Leblond wants to take her place. The supervisors approved Bush’s resignation and appointed Leblond to the committee.

The township is holding a fall cleanup from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 29 and 8 a.m. to noon on Sept. 30.

The event is free to all township residents.

Tires will be accepted for a fee. The fee is $5 for car tires, $10 for truck tires, and $15 for large truck or tractor trailer tires.

Residents can also bring mattresses, old lawn furniture, gas grills, and other items not suitable for regular disposal.

The township will recycle metals, but it has to be kept separate.

The next event of this type will be in the spring of 2024.