Curwensville Welcomes New Police Chief

Shown are Curwensville Police Chief Mark Kelly with David Johnson, former chief. (Photo by Wendy Brion)

CURWENSVILLE – On Monday night, Curwensville Borough Council welcomed its new Police Chief Mark Kelly and thanked retiring Police Chief Dave Johnson for his 25 years of service.

Council member Dave Donahue noted that it’s nice to have a borough council that supports its police department and he personally said he appreciates all that it does.

Johnson added that he has greatly enjoyed working with Kelly and said he was a hard worker and would be an asset to the position of police chief.

The council also heard a brief presentation from Dee Holland of EADS Group engineers on the Master Site Development plan for Irvin Park.

Holland noted that the plan was requested by previous council. She said the information contained within the plan was devised after doing community surveys and interviews as well as looking at the park and its assets.

If adopted, this will be the set of documents the borough refers to in the future when it plans to do any improvements or seek funding for the park.

Council member Joe Wills said that while he appreciates the plan and feels it will be good for the park, there were some items he wished had been included.

These items included how many people use the path to the river, how many people use the restrooms located at the head of the path, how often the pavilions are rented and what the average age group of those using the pavilions is.

Holland replied that much of that information was not requested when EADS was first commissioned to do the site plan.

Other council members noted that the information on the pavilions could be obtained from the borough office, although not the age of people renting the pavilions.

Holland said that most people may not be aware that the restrooms are open and that while they could use some work, Boy Scouts in the past have worked to improve the restrooms.

She added that their capacity is limited, as evident by the need for Porta Potties during Curwensville Days.

The council voted to adopt the plan as presented.

The council discussed some matters regarding code enforcement and thanked Code Enforcement Officer and council member Tom Carfley for the work he’s been doing since taking the position. One property he noted is on Filbert Street.

He said the owner lives in Kentucky and the house is empty. The borough mowed the lawn several times last summer and the cost was $440.

He has contacted the owner several times to no avail. This is an ongoing issue around the borough with abandoned properties that are not being cared for.

Kelly reported on getting grant funding to help pay for the computer server for the police department. He said he worked with Barry Mays of North Central Regional Development Commission and Mays was able to find about $1,350, which is roughly half the cost of a server.

Kelly has also been working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and due to the population and median income of the borough, it’s eligible for grants to help pay for various improvements to the police department offices, which can include portions of the borough building.

The grants would be for up to 75 percent of the cost of the work, and he said he is working with Secretary Autumn Norris to put together a list of projects.

The chief also addressed concerns from citizens regarding sidewalks being cleared. Borough ordinance gives residents and business owners 24 hours to clear the sidewalks after a snowfall and there was discussion on changing that timeline to 12 hours.

Council members noted that some areas, such as Susquehanna Avenue, are difficult to maintain due to the state plow trucks throwing snow back onto the sidewalks and some leniency can be made for property owners making a good effort. Council will continue to look at the matter.

Council member Robert Moore informed council he is looking at trying to bring in some events at the band shell in Irvin Park.  Some ideas include the Grampian Community Band, local Christian bands and so on.

Carfley noted several years ago, council made an attempt to bring in groups and no one attended the concerts, but he said he is all for trying to get the band shell used more.

Wills added that Moore should talk with local teens and school officials about what kinds of groups they would be interested in.

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