Improvements to Hellertown's Water Street Park were part of a discussion had by Borough Council Feb. 19.
The discussion followed a Feb. 12 Hellertown Planning Commission detailed review of the proposed plan to upgrade the popular recreation area, which is bordered by the Saucon Rail Trail.
The park also hosts the seasonal Saucon Valley Farmers' Market, which from May through November attracts hundreds of visitors each Sunday.
Creating additional space for the market's vendors and visitors--as well as room for future expansion--was part of the council discussion.
Hellertown mayor and farmers' market volunteer Richard Fluck said the SVFM currently has 46 vendors, and he told the planning commission it is now the second biggest weekly farmers' market in the Lehigh Valley, after Easton.
Borough engineer Bryan Smith, of Barry Isett and Associates, said the proposed park upgrade plan includes 38 spaces for vendors with vehicles and an additional 52 "standard 12 (foot) by 12 (foot) vendor booth areas."
After hearing that, council president Phil Weber commented that the plan appears to allow "for some healthy growth" for the market, which is now in its eighth year.
Other plan highlights include:
- Installation of a new basketball court/ice skating rink.
- Construction of an expanded network of paths.
- Installation of lighting, which will enable the park to remain open after dusk.
- Construction of public restrooms, which will be housed in a new, hip-roofed Service Electric switching station at the southeast corner of the park.
- Construction of raised crosswalks in the park's driveway, which will be expanded to include a terminal loop for better vehicular circulation.
Smith told the planning commission that the park plan, if approved, will result in phased upgrades, with the first construction phase likely to begin in 2014.
In response to a question from councilwoman Gail Nolf, he said the dirt ramps used by bicyclists in the park will remain.
"They're not impacted by this plan at all," he said.
Following further input from members of the Saucon Valley Farmers' Market committee, the borough planning commission is scheduled to again review the park plan at its March meeting.
Council approved a motion to allow Service Electric to move forward with the construction of its new switching station in the park.
The current station will be demolished to make way for the new structure.
Smith said the building will include a "shell space" for the restrooms that are planned, with the borough being responsible for connecting water and sewer lines.
"The new building (will) be a little more residential in look," he said.