During the Allen Township Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, July 26, supervisors unanimously approved a motion to allow Andrew Hower of Covered Bridge Farm to access the Hokendauqua Creek via the township-owned Covered Bridge Park. Hower says the family-run farm has been accessing the creek via the park for over two decades to pull water for its irrigation system. However, no official agreement was ever signed, prompting the township to send a warning letter to the farm.
The township said their reason for sending the warning was to protect the park’s newly planted meadows and wildflowers from destruction.
“The seed is not inexpensive,” said Township Manager Ilene Eckhart. “[And] it takes a couple of years to get [the meadow] going correctly.”
“We are doing our best not to destroy what you have established there,” said Hower. He added that vehicles used the park’s perimeter and did not intentionally drive through its meadows.
With this summer’s drought, Hower said that water is pulled out of the creek weekly to irrigate the farm’s vegetables. This use of creek water is allowed under Pennsylvania law.
Supervisor Paul Link said he is not opposed to the farm pulling water from the creek but did not want to see township property damaged.
Supervisor Gary Behler agreed, saying that the farm and township need a written contract. The board unanimously instructed Township Solicitor Lincoln Treadwell to draft an agreement. Under this agreement, Hower would be allowed to drive into the park via the paved road and pull water. Hours would be limited to before the park opens to the public or after it is closed.
In other news, supervisors heard a presentation from one of the engineering firms in the running to lead their facility’s upgrade. Arif Fazil of D’Huy Engineering in Bethlehem gave a brief “sneak peek” of the firm’s proposed plans.
Fazil said the township fire building has the most potential. Parking would be revamped, and the upper level of the building would be renovated to appear more welcoming to the public. New signage would be installed, and a public entrance would be redesigned.
Fazil said any changes the firm proposes would be “utilitarian, functional, and maintainable.”
The total project, he added, could take about two years.
“I am excited to move forward with D’Huy,” said Behler.
The rest of the board agreed, unanimously approving D’Huy Engineering’s proposal, allowing the engineers to begin the exploration process.
Supervisors also discussed plans for the former Nagle Property along the Lehigh River. Plans to turn the 27th Street site into a public park have stalled. The township needs Norfolk Southern’s permission to add a crosswalk to allow park goers to safely cross the railroad tracks.
In the meantime, supervisors discussed possible names for the future park. All agreed that “Allen Township” needs to be in the name. No parks in the township bear the township name.
“We need to get our name out there,” said Supervisor Dale Hassler. He suggested Allen Riverview Park as a possible name.
Supervisors will come up with a list of names to present to the public for feedback.
Finally, supervisors passed a resolution instating a Code of Conduct for township parks. This decision comes after members of the Bath Allen Youth Club voiced complaints about the behavior of other members. (These behaviors were not addressed publicly.) Based on these complaints, supervisors said they could potentially restrict the club from using township facilities. They also threatened to pull funding.
Supervisors Behler and Link attended a meeting with the club on July 28 to present this new code of conduct and issue the township’s warning.
The next Allen Township Board of Supervisors meeting will be Tuesday, August 9.