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In his 18th annual state of the borough address on Jan. 20, Ridley Park Mayor Hank Eberle detailed a year of pluses for Ridley Park, including the approval a new 10-year comprehensive plan that was hammered out after a committee of residents worked for 18 months on its details under the guidance and direction of the Delaware County Planning Commission. The story in the DelCoNews Network is by Barbara Ormsby
"The plan provides guidance and direction for the future development of our town and is extremely important when applying for grants," Eberle said.
Eberle cited the code enforcement and abatement program that requires owners of properties that are out of code and have become eyesores to bring them up to code, a police department that not only is charged with keeping the peace but also is responsible for the Youth Aid Panel staffed by resident volunteers, two senior citizen luncheons and an open house/community fun day at the police station.
"We are all aware of the very serious issue of drugs throughout the United States....and Ridley Park. We have taken actions to mitigate this scourge," the mayor said. "Early this year the (police) chief had a town meeting at (Ridley)Middle School for youth, parents and community members."
Eberle said the war on drugs continued with a Heroin Alert program with presentations by police to students in the Interboro and Ridley School districts. He noted funds for these programs were raised by resident Cookie April.
"As the mayor responsible for police department operations, I strongly support and appreciate our police efforts in ensuring that we are a safe town. We have excellent and devoted police officers," he said.
Eberle spoke of a Life Saving Achievement Fire Protection award the fire company received, and the outreach programs it presents to schools and other organizations. He mentioned the appointment of Emergency Coordinator Michael Garon, the work of the Athletic Club founded in 1961, and the sports programs it provides for 800 young people, and the work the borough Business and Professional Association does in the community, including the Santa Claus welcome event, Halloween parade and Easter egg hunt.
The Main Streets events came in for some special praise by Eberle for the organization's sponsorship of the Fall Festival, weekly seasonal Farmers' Market, the 5K run to benefit the HEADstrong Foundation's fight against blood cancers, and the Rubber Duck Regatta.
"A major part of our history is the Barnstormers, the longest continuously operating playhouse in Pennsylvania and the third longest continuously operating playhouse in the US. They are a rich part of our history. Take the opportunity to attend one of their plays," Eberle said.
The mayor spoke of the borough library that was built in 1914 with a $10,000 contribution from steel magnate Andrew Carnegie and the 214 new members who joined the libary in 2014, and most importantly, the $500,000 Safe Routes to School grant that will provide sidewalks on Hillside Road from Crum Lynne Road to the Ridley Middle School where there is a lack of sidewalks.
"This solves a major, major safety issue when students leaving the middle school (have) to walk in the street up Hillside. This is really an unsafe situation," he said.
Eberle concluded his address by paying tribute to the scores of volunteers who give their time and talent for the betterment of the community.
"Just as important is the overwhelming number of you, our residents, who take great pride in your homes and our community," he said.