Bellefonte Borough Council appoints new member, to see changes in January

The Bellefonte Borough Council will soon be whole again.

The council approved the nomination of Karen Harvey to the South Ward position that was vacated by Vana Dainty. Dainty left the post to accept a contracted job with the borough to promote Bellefonte and seek out improvement grants.

Harvey, a retired professor from Lock Haven University and Bellefonte property owner since 1985, will take the council seat at the Jan. 6 meeting and serve the remaining two years of Dainty’s term.

She said she is happy to get the chance to work as a council member in the town that she has lived in for much of her life.

“I applied for borough council because of the opportunity to further serve my community and participate in planning for its direction and growth,” she wrote in an email.

She said she is interested in preservation and protection of the town’s assets, which would include the Big Spring, environment and historic architecture. She added that revitalization efforts such as the waterfront project are obvious goals of the council, and she would like to continue to see work from officials to attract more businesses and people to the community.

The council approved her appointment Monday by a 5-2 vote, with Councilman Joe Beigle and Councilwoman Renee Brown voting against because they supported another candidate. The borough saw three candidates for the seat who were given time to speak in the work session before the meeting.

The borough moved quickly to replace Dainty because, by law, it had 30 days before the court would step in and fill the seat, Borough Manager Ralph Stewart said. Officials opened an application process to anyone in the ward who had an interest.

Mayor-elect Tom Wilson, currently a councilman, said he has known Harvey since high school and that she is “brilliant.”

He added that her experience running departments at LHU could be an asset for the committee she will be in charge of in her new position. Harvey was the chairwoman of the department of history and political science for several years at Lock Haven and served as interim dean of the College of Arts and Science for a year.

There will be additional changes on council in the first week in January.

Wilson will be sworn in as the new mayor, and two new councilmen will take their seats. Barry Spicer and Randall Brachbill will take the seats of Dave Provan and Wilson, respectively. Neither Provan nor Wilson sought re-election to council.

The new mayor said he is excited to get going and is hoping to have his whole family together for his swearing in on Jan. 3.