Philipsburg debates problems at skate park

If they dismantled the Philipsburg Skate Park, would anyone still do drugs there?

On Monday night, Philipsburg Borough Council debated what to do about complaints arising from the skate park, which is located adjacent to the Powerhouse Little League fields and U.S. Route 322.

Councilwoman Sharon Goss reported residents near the park have complained of fires being built there at night, when the park is supposed to be closed, and that drug paraphernalia, in particular needles, are being found at the location.

Councilman Harry Wood also mentioned that the park is “being torn up by kids to suit themselves and it wasn’t set up for that.”

Discussion centered on making repairs to the park using funds that were donated at the park’s inception, but other council members suggested dismantling the park. Still others suggested solutions like surveillance cameras or police enforcement.

In the end, council decided to give supporters of the park a chance to help rectify the problems by issuing a public notice threatening to close and dismantle the park if it was not cleaned up and after-hours problems were not resolved.

Elsewhere, Councilman Fred Grauch reported on a new fire committee’s first meeting, where the committee thrust last month’s funding pleas by the borough’s two local fire companies, Hope and Reliance, back onto the respective companies. Grauch said that the companies need to be clear and show their own resolve to help solve funding issues before the borough would lead on the funding issue.

“It is the consensus,” said Grauch, “That we’d like to see Hope and Reliance merge in order to save money.”

The two firehouses are a block away from each other in Philipsburg.

Grauch also updated council on the latest regarding potential rate changes facing the Moshannon Valley Joint Sewer Authority, which he chairs.

The authority administers wastewater treatment in Rush, Decatur and Morris townships, and Philipsburg and Chester Hill. Grauch told council that there is strong disagreement among the board members about going from a billing system based on equivalent dwelling units to a flow-based system that would be based more on each municipalities’ actual usage.

In Philipsburg, for example, a sewage bill costs $61 per month, but in Morris Township, which doesn’t have as much new infrastructure to pay for, the cost is about half that amount. Grauch said discussions are continuing.