Last night borough council approved preliminary and final plans to relocate Lumber St. clearing the way for the construction of a Devine School daycare center on the Lumber Street property.
This is a great plan for a couple reasons aside from obviously developing a gaping whole in the middle of the downtown streetscape.
1. Upgraded Lumber Street at reduced cost to taxpayer. Lumber Street now is pretty much a gravel road that sees a fairly high volume of traffic. It's a shortcut for anyone coming into town from Brookside who turn onto Lehigh Street. Someday regardless of what happens with the lumber yard the borough was going to have to address the situation. The potential new owners of the property, Christine and Joseph Devine are essentially contributing $1 for every taxpayer dollar to upgrade the street.
This is a winner for the borough. Instead of the taxpayer coming in and having to pay the lions share of 400,000+ dollars the borough is only on the hook for roughly half. Excellent example of a private/public partnership. Win/Win.
2. The Recreation component. With a land development plan the developer must either contribute land or pay a fee. The Devines have offered to dedicate the bank of the mountain creek as open space and a pathway to the borough in lieu of paying. This potential dedication will make an excellent addition to the borough path system. Better yet, the borough can wait and decide on whether to accept the dedication after seeing the pathway, gauging usage and value to the community. Again it's win/win.
3. Business people working together. If I have one fault with this plan it's losing 3-4 parking spaces on Main Street due to un-avoidable site line restrictions. However, I'm very happy to see all the players involved working to build more off-street parking behind Main. If there is one commodity that is absolutely invaluable to a suburban Main St. it's parking spaces adjacent to the downtown. My one comment is I would love to see the Devines or a combination of landowners involved in the deal replace the 3 public spaces being lost with dedication of 3 public spaces on the Main Street end of the project so there isn't a net loss of public parking.