We are hearing a lot about plans these days. Having a plan is a good thing. Hopefully having a good plan will avoid pitfalls and save the government, that is to say you and me, money.
These days plans are expensive; almost as expensive as some of the projects these plans are designed to fix. There are two plans being talked about locally. One could be expensive and the other will certainly be expensive.
The first plan under discussion is the development of the Dr. Walter Dick Park, known locally as “The Dam.” Many of us, (including a Brookville council member or two), recall “The Dam” as it was when we were young. The whispering Larch trees, pine needles mounded everywhere, the old wooden concession stand the Kiwanis Club leased out, the old bath houses volunteers had erected and the puffing stacks of the natural gas engine. The place was always full of teenagers and small kids playing in the stream.
That idyllic picture changed in 1996 when the dam broke during the flood of that summer. Gone in a flash was the old park. Everything we remembered was carried off or turned over.
In its place was newer version of the old park. It is a functioning park. People return annually to the little beach and the steps, (whenever the Geese aren’t bad and the snapping turtles are behaving.) People hold picnics there and kids use the play ground but some people think more can be done there.
To see what could be done, the borough council has entered into a grant arrangement with the state for a master site plan. I have no idea what could be done there but informed people tell me quite a bit can be added to make the park into a very viable recreational area.
The catch 22 is that the borough will need to spend $15,000 to open Pandora’s Box. That is the borough’s half of the grant from the state. A borough committee has talked with four firms who can prepare a master site plan. One will be recommended at the council meeting on April 5. At that time the council will vote to accept, or reject, the proposal. Even if the site plan is completed, that does not mean the borough is committed to spending another dime. It is a plan and plans can be altered or changed altogether.
If you want to hear more about the master site plan, try to attend the council meeting. It starts at 7 p.m. in the borough complex on Western Avenue.
The second plan could change the landscape of the Brookville. Ever since I was a kid growing up on Evans Street, the intersection of Evans and East Main has been a problem. Pulling out of Evans onto East Main was a crap shoot. You literally took your life in your hands. That was the situation a good 50 years ago. In all of that time, it has not changed.
PennDOT is planning to change it in a big way. Some residents have reportedly had a personal visit from a PennDOT representative and for a very good reason: They will lose their home or their business. According to one account, the current plan calls for the removal of four houses in the borough and one business and three houses in Pine Creek Township. This is so East Main Street can be widened to accommodate a right hand turn lane onto Evans Street. If the unconfirmed accounts are true, the Hilltop Superette and several houses adjacent to it will be purchased by the state and removed.
That is a major change by any standard.
My engineering expertise ends with Lego blocks so I can only assume PennDOT has exhausted all other avenues and this is the best possible plan. Of course I don’t know that because these plans will not be revealed to the public until March 31st when the engineers does the big reveal. Then we will all know what only a few know now.
It may be worthwhile to give up a few hours and see if either of these plans meet your scrutiny. After all, it is your money and your community at stake.