Jeff Dexter, supervisor of Damascus Township in Pennsylvania, has been elected chairman of the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) for 2013. Andy Boyar, supervisor of the Town of Highland, was elected vice-chair, and John B. Niflot, the Town of Fremont representative, was elected secretary-treasurer.
The election was held at the UDC meeting in Narrowsburg on January 4. There will be a swearing-in ceremony and public reception at the February 7 UDC meeting.
According to a UDC press release, “Dexter began his council service in January 2010 as a first alternate before he assumed the role of Damascus’ UDC representative two years later. He was elected as the UDC’s vice-chair in 2012. As chairman of the Damascus Township Board of Supervisors, on which he has served since 2006, Dexter was influential in the municipality’s vote on July 21, 2008 to join the Upper Delaware Council.”
Also at the meeting, the minutes of the Water Use Resource Management Committee were partially read aloud by UDC member Tony Ritter. The minutes reflected that Laurie Ramie, executive director of the UDC, learned from Sullivan County planning commissioner Luiz Aragon that some $100,000 that had been set aside for preliminary engineering for the planned Scenic Byway Visitors Center, to be located at Fort Delaware on Route 97, “has been pulled as the result of what has been described as inactivity.”
The minutes continued, “Ramie said this is ironic as the Byway has not been inactive with the project. A reauthorization of the Federal Transportation Bill is required to restore the funding.” Letters have been sent to state and federal representatives regarding the funding.
In another matter, UDC member Dennis DeMara, of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said a community conservation partnership grant of $174,000 went to Northeast PA Snow Trails, Inc. for the purchase of a trail groomer to use on their 230 miles of trails. Pike County received a grant of over $800,000 for land acquisition adjacent to the Delaware State Forest, and Pike also received $30,000 to prepare a greenway plan. Shohola Township received a $94,000 grant for a park development project.
Pond Eddy Bridge to close for repairs
Also at the meeting, National Park Service Superintendent Sean McGuinness said that the Pond Eddy bridge, which has been the subject of much debate over the past year or so, will be closed for a brief period of time for repairs.
James May, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), said that the contractor that will do the repairs, Fahs Ralston, is waiting for 12 steel stingers to be delivered, and that should happen in about two weeks. Work will begin when the stringers arrive and will last for about three weeks.
As was the case during repairs in 2011, the bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic from about 8 a.m. to 12 noon, and again from 1 p.m. to about 4:30 p.m.
May said the process of constructing a new $13-million bridge is still on track to begin in 2016, although details are still being worked out between officials in Pennsylvania and New York.