Last updated: July 08. 2014 11:19PM - 817 Views
By Geri Gibbons Times Leader Correspondent

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JENKINS TWP. — The Board of Supervisors held a special meeting on Monday night to receive public input on possible uses for areas of its Port Blanchard section purchased through the Federal Emergency Management Agency flood buyout program.

Properties in the section were heavily damaged by record Susquehanna River flooding in September 2011.

Supervisor Stanley Rovinski said the public meeting during which the board took sworn statements from residents was a required part of the process of the township’s pursuit of grant money through the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Bids for the demolition of approximately 65 homes are due at the end of July and the project is expected to be completed shortly thereafter.

Resident Rita Warabak asked about FEMA limitations on the project.

“We anticipate forming a committee to look into what use of the area would best serve our residents, and then we will work within the framework of FEMA guidelines,” said Rovinski.

Charles Urban, a former resident, addressed the board, suggesting it work with the Rails to Trails program, which would be a possible source of additional funding.

“I would love to see the trail extended,” said Urban, “with the added benefit of adding a sense of history to the project.”

Resident Connie Padrezas said she was worried about the project’s impact on taxes. She suggested a simple grass-planted area, which would insure limited costs to the township.

“We will work within the framework of grant monies received,” said Rovinski. “I don’t believe the board would authorize a tax increase for a recreational project.”

Resident Neil Keener asked to whether the board was considering additional soccer fields as a use for the area.

“That would certainly be possible,” said Rovinski. “Two other soccer fields in the township are very well used.”

“After demolition, we will have a level grassed area, suitable for soccer or other athletic purposes including hockey and lacrosse,” said Supervisor Robert Linskey.

When questioned about maintenance, Linskey said FEMA regulations required ongoing maintenance of areas bought out by the agency.

Rovinski emphasized the meeting was “just the beginning of the process” of finding the best use for the area. He encouraged continued public input and invited interested residents to join the committee that will investigate appropriate options.

“There so much potential for this project requiring limited township money,” said Rovinski, “we have many wonderful intelligent people here, I’m sure this project will be a success.”

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