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on April 16, 2016 at 7:00 AM, updated April 16, 2016 at 7:04 AM
During Newport Borough Council's April 5 meeting, Frank Campbell reported that the latest phase of the Veterans Memorial Playground construction project is proceeding on schedule.
The board authorized checks of $17,002.57 and $17,156.39 to the contractor doing the work, WSL Inc.
The current phase involves construction of a new concession stand, which will be shared by the baseball and softball associations.
The former White property (279 North Front St.) was approved as a lot addition for the playground. Campbell explained DCNR would have to sign off if the property ever were converted to a non-recreational use.
Council debated who would be responsible for cleaning the new bathrooms at the park.
Councilwoman Tami Halstead said borough employees already mow the park, remove trash, and perform general maintenance.
Suggestions included hiring a seasonal employee two hours a day, executing a contract with an outside service, and recruiting civic organizations to pitch in.
In other news, board President Gerry Robinson laid out the plan for the Fifth Street project.
The first portion to be done will be the Walnut to Market streets section. The entire project will consist of three blocks (between Oliver and Mulberry streets).
Curbing also will be replaced to ensure proper drainage.
Robinson explained the sewer authority needs to do a better job coordinating its line replacement with street projects.
Halstead would like to see the borough's engineer and solicitor attend more meetings to advise council on such projects.
The borough is expecting $13,000 to $14,000 in federal reimbursement for the Winter Storm Jonas's clean-up effort.
Council also is looking into hiring a new codes enforcement officer, following Rick Miller's resignation of March 18.
Councilwoman Penny Frownfelter recommended adoption of an ordinance declaring dwellings with utility shutoffs uninhabitable. She said many other municipalities have such ordinances.
Robinson supported the measure, but thinks there should be a five- or 10-day grace period.
The borough is continuing to look into its options to obtain a street sweeper. The borough recently charged the Newport School District $250 to sweep its parking lot using a brush attachment on a truck.
Secretary Pat Bower said an extensive right-to-know request was received from the Florida based organization Openthebooks.com, and the matter is being reviewed by attorneys from State Rep. Mark Keller's office.
Mike Eisenberg and Nathan Nolan were hired as part time street help.