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Pony Bridge Ditch an Issue, Society Prez Tells Council

Hellertown Historical Society president Earl Hill asked Borough Council Oct. 15 to consider removing a ditch next to the "Pony Bridge" on Walnut Street. Society volunteers recently completed a bridge restoration project.

In light of recent restoration work that was done on the historic "Pony Bridge" on Walnut Street, on Oct. 15 Hellertown Historical Society president Earl Hill asked Borough Council members to consider making changes to the area around the bridge.

Specifically, Hill asked council to consider extending a three-foot drainage pipe near the bridge, which would allow for the elimination of a large drainage ditch that he said is difficult for the society's many elderly volunteers to maintain.

"I have people...that are a lot older than I am that are trying to get in there and I don’t want anyone to get hurt," Hill said.

Hill estimated that the pipe would need to be extended by 20 to 25 feet, with some regrading also required.

"It’s not a lot of digging to do," he said. "It'd be a lot easier for the borough to maintain."

As things stand, "if we get floods, the water can back up" underneath the bridge, he added.

Hill said the bridge has become a popular venue for wedding party photos, and he told council members that new wood decking was recently installed on it.

Council president Phil Weber complimented him on the improvements, and said the bridge is looking "wonderful."

However, he and council vice president John Bate said they would like to survey the area Hill said is problematic before committing to anything.

"I don't picture the swale," Weber said.

Councilman Richard Staffieri was the only council member to question Hill's request.

"That bridge never should have been there in the first place," he said.

The Pony Bridge is a 19th century metal truss bridge that was moved to its present location for preservation purposes.

Hill defended the request for assistance by reminding Staffieri that the bridge is owned by the borough.

"This is to help the borough, not only the historical society," he said.

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