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Ridley Park Borough STATUS REPORT
Providing our residents with the details they are looking for on the projects they care about
Here on Borough Council, we understand that the billboard construction is a sensitive subject for residents, especially those residents that live in the neighborhood off Hetzel Road. However, there are many stories circulating around Ridley Park and it is important that residents understand the timeline and facts that led us to the point we are currently at with the billboard construction.
This issue began in 2002 when Lockridge Advertising approached Ridley Park Borough about their desire to construct 5 billboards along Chester Pike. At that time they stated, that they believed there to be legal precedent for their request. The Borough entered into negotiations with Lockridge at that point to address their request. Then in 2007, Lockridge decided to file a federal lawsuit against the borough as they deemed the negotiations to be too drawn out. At the recommendation of the Federal Judge and the solicitor, the Borough decided that it would be in the best interest of the borough to seek a settlement agreement.
The terms of the settlement released Ridley Park from potential damages that the federal judge set at a minimum $1.3 million, but required that Ridley Park allow for billboard construction within the Borough. In 2009, Council at the time passed a comprehensive zoning package that allowed for billboard construction along I-95. However, due to an error made in the 2009 zoning ordinance, the property in question had to be rezoned from its designation of Interstate Fronting District to comply with the terms of the settlement. Council directed the solicitor to draft the amendment in 2010 and then unanimously voted on the measure in 2011.
Borough Council will continue to do their duty and remains sympathetic to the neighbors affected by this decision, but we cannot arbitrarily spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a battle that has been waged over many years, several solicitors and several council administrations. Ultimately, our decision will be based on facts and sound legal advice as is every councilors sworn duty. We will continue to work diligently on this issue and invite the input of all residents. We also invite you to please review the PowerPoint presentation that was displayed at the special informational meeting which can be found on our website or by contacting borough hall for more detailed and specific information. We thank all of you for your understanding as we work towards a responsible solution that is best for all of Ridley Park.
CATANIA PARK UPDATE
At the 9/25/2013 County Council meeting, $175,000 in up-grades was approved for Catania Park! These upgrades have been pursued by the Ridley Park Athletic Club & Ridley United Soccer Club for the past 8 years.
2 new ballfields, remodeled tennis courts and improved parking are part of the Phase 1 plan. There are 5 Phases in total.
Work begins this month and Council President Berger couldn’t be more proud of both group’s part in getting these improvements off the ground.
“This has been a long term goal. 10 years of hard work for the youth of Ridley Park. We want to thank Dave White and the County Council for helping us bring this forward.” The Borough , RPAC and RUSC would also like to thank Marc Manfre, County Director of Parks & Recreation for his continued support.
So, connect these “dots,” passages from the above context--what do you see?
… Council directed the solicitor to draft the amendment in 2010 and then unanimously voted on the measure in 2011…
…we [Borough Council] cannot arbitrarily spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a battle that has been waged over many years, several solicitors and several council administrations….
…We will continue to work diligently on this issue and invite the input of all residents…
…we work towards a responsible solution that is best for all of Ridley Park….
…At the 9/25/2013 County Council meeting, $175,000 in up-grades was approved for Catania Park! These upgrades have been pursued…for the past 8 years….
…Work begins this month and Council President Berger couldn’t be more proud…in getting these improvements off the ground….
…Borough Council President Berger says, “This has been a long term goal. 10 years of hard work…. We want to thank Dave White and the County Council for helping us bring this forward.”
…$175,000 in up-grades…
…pursued…for the past 8 years….
… Council President Berger couldn’t be more proud…
… “This has been a long term goal. 10 years of hard work….” says Borough Council President Berger…
When was the decision made to put the Billboard in a Borough Park rather than in Catania Park where all this attention was being focused? Wouldn’t the County have considered a Billboard in Catania Park (a County facility) to be a good revenue generator to help make up the “$175,000 in up-grades to which they committed? Some of the important dots are missing—does not compute…