On the Trump budget.

Drifting into the national realm for a second before heading back to the regularly scheduled program of state and local thoughts. I am really interested in feedback on this. 

First, I’m not always enamored with Donald Trump. He’s more populist, than a conservative. Far too often he acts boorish.The way he conducts himself is problematic at times. .

That being said, I’ve made an effort to evaluate his policies objectively. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I don’t. Even if most of the time I disagree with his tact and execution. 

So, with the budget and how it fits into my worldview. Some thoughts:

1.) To preface. Fundamentally, I believe the Federal Government has over time expanded far beyond it’s original intended scope. The result of which is a national debt that’s reached crippling levels. A burden unsustainable. A system broken. I believe as a core value that MANY Federal programs and areas should be divested to the states and/or local governments en masse. And that’s what this budget could do. (This principle in a nutshell is why I identify as a Conservative)

2.) LOTS of sky is falling alarmism right now. This is the nature of 2 party politics. The sky is not falling. Here is a local example of the alarmism.

3.) At cursory glance, I agree with about half or more of the Federal cuts the Trump budget proposes. This does not mean I don’t support the goals of some of these programs. In fact for many I do.  It’s important for conservatives to explain this.

3a.) For example, let’s take the proposed elimination of TIGER and CDBG grants. These are both programs that have accomplished measureable good. They were largely created in support goals that I support. And are both promoted by advocacy groups I associate with. (For ex. Smart Growth America). They are admirably intentioned programs.

But both are inherently wasteful. Largely in part because they are administered by the Federal Government as clumsy top down programs. The administration of both grants absolutely hemorrhages money. They are inefficient. Cronyism, waste and fraud are rampant. Both are products of a federal system where influential legislators are rewarded based on political maneuvering not merit or need. In a word. Pork.

The problem isn’t once the money (finally) gets into the right hands. It’s the process by which that happens. And the strings that come attached. That’s where the waste occurs and cronyism is reality. The solution is cut the middle man (the federal government) and therefore cut the waste, cronyism, special interests and federal strings entirely out of the picture.

4.) I believe that cutting the Federal Government completely out of the picture on many proposed programs would result in more money for issues I care about. I’ve said this in this space many times:
Send 1 dollar to your local government get .95 cents back.
Send 1 dollar to you county government get .75 cents back.
Send a dollar to your state government get half the value back.
Send a dollar to Washington DC and get back an I.O.U. 

All told the average American pays 15% of their income in federal taxes. It’s a totally inequitable system where 40% skirt paying anything at all. It’s not (for me at least) an unwillingness to pay taxes. I personally pay MORE than my fair share. It’s a desire to get a better measurable return on those dollars.

5.) As a ballpark reduce the federal tax burden by a minimum of 20%. This roughly the amount of non-military Federal discretionary spending today. And with that I’d gladly pay a portion of that money to state and local governments and in turn reap much higher return on investment. Even if the money returned to the local level was half the amount the returns would far exceed what we lose in the top down system now.

No, I’m not of the “get government out of everything” cloth. Many conservatives get painted with this brush unfairly. What I do believe in is divesting the role of the Federal Government from (almost) everything not outlined in the Constitution. 

6.) Give states and local governments the freedom and resources to create, fund and administer novel programs. Return to the idea of a laboratory of democracy. This is the way our country was designed to function. The way it functions best. (Marijuana policy as an example). Incrementalism creates resiliency. A state creates a program that works? Other states will emulate. A state creates a program that does not? The impacts are limited to that state.

A local example, Allentown’s Community Bike Works is a good program that apparently gets a chunk of funding from the federal Government. Valuable program. Serves the community well. I support it. I just believe that funding it at the local level with local dollars would make it stronger. I’d much rather pay a little more in local taxes for stronger programs in return for sending less of my income to the DC swamp.

7.) I believe the government can be an effective tool to get important things done, but I DO NOT believe in redistribution. States are the appropriate levels of government to choose (should voters desire) spending money on novel social programs and that local governments are the appropriate place to choose to invest in discretionary items.

The reason is further down you go, the more direct oversight residents have over how your tax dollars are spent. And the more direct role you play in Democracy. The higher up you go the further removed you are and inherently wasteful programs tend to be.

8.) I believe that when conservatives outline this argument in a thoughtful way we bring people into our tent. This is a problem I have with Trump and Trumpism. The mindset shouldn’t be “defeat the enemy”, it should be win them over with ideas. 

9.) I believe most Americans inhabit a space somewhere between a right wing mindset of “burn the government to the ground” and a leftist mindset that Washington DC should be the center of a centrally planned universe. This space between is essentially federalism. And we need to more clearly communicate that. 

Support anti-gerrymandering legislation.

Last week we had a request from a resident to consider a resolution in support of gerrymandering reform legislation. Specifically, one that supports a citizens commission for legislative redistricting. This is similar to a request made in front of Lehigh County a few weeks ago. County Commissioners passed a resolution in favor. Here is the article. Whitehall Township also is considering similar a resolution.

Pennsylvania is one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation. Gerrymandering is when politicians draw the borders of their own voting districts to protect  and give unfair advantages to incumbents. When this happens, instead of voters choosing their elected officials, politicians choose their voters. Because of this many districts are no longer competitive. Each year a growing number of candidates run unopposed. Voters in those districts no longer have a choice. Because of this partisan hackery, gridlock in Harrisburg gets worse and worse.

Here is a video from Fairdistricts PA which overviews the problem.

I have written about this problem many times on this blog and I 100% support the request to draft and pass a resolution strongly urging elected officials in Harrisburg to tackle the problem. This is a basic and essential good government reform. 

The fair question here is why should a local municipality take the time to draft and pass a non-binding resolution? Well for one thing this kind of advocacy is actually outlined as one of our responsibilities in the Township Commissioner Handbook.

“The commissioners’ role as a legislator is not confined to enacting township laws. Elected officials represent the township and are expected to be concerned with and at times, attempt to influence state legislation affecting their municipality. The General Assembly considers legislation affecting all townships, all local governments in Pennsylvania and each individual municipality or region.

As representatives of the township, commissioners are in a position to exert some influence on the decisions of state legislators. The relationship between commissioners and legislators is more effective if the board takes an official position by adopting a resolution prior to contacting their legislators.” – Township Commissioners Handbook 4th edition

So how does gerrymandering impact Lower Macungie Twp.? For starters, we rely on our state elected officials to advocate on behalf of our township in Harrisburg. So much of what we do at the township level is determined and dictated by decisions made at the state level. When districts are gerrymandered in extreme ways state officials represent districts that make no geographic sense. Often times including vastly different areas with very different concerns and needs. In the very worse cases districts aren’t even contiguous. Meaning they can have donut holes or islands. This makes the whole process of advocacy less effective. It’s not the case, but in theory – Let’s say Lower Mac was cherrypicked by one district and Alburtis another. This would mean each area would be represented by a different legislator. Makes no sense since both face the same issues, share a border and share infrastructure needs. (Exhibit ‘A’ would be the truck issue)

Here is the 134th as it’s drawn. Believe it or not, this meandering district is actually not one of the worse. .

So we definitely should have concerns for local townships who want most effective advocacy from our state officials. The 134th right now is pretty spread out, but again nowhere near the worse example. However this can always change if state parties decide they want to arbitrarily protect an incumbent for political gain.

The system today is political instead of objective. As a local elected official we have an obligation to be concerned with and at times, attempt to influence state legislation affecting or potentially affecting our municipality. The best way we can accomplish this it is to pass a formal resolution and urge Senator Pat Browne and Rep. Ryan Mackenzie to both support (or continue to support) bi-partisan redistricting reform. Browne and two other area State Senators representing the Lehigh Valley already do. Lisa Boscola  (D) (representing Emmaus) is a prime sponsor. Pat Browne (R) (representing Lower Mac)  and Mario Scavello (R have joined as co-sponsors. Browne chairs the powerful Appropriations Committee, and is one of the most influential legislators in the state. Very important as a township that we support him and others in this good government reform effort.

Lower Mac Truck Adventures

So when I see errant trucks on residential roads in our township I tend to (time permitting) follow them. I do this fairly often (since it happens very often) in an effort to try to figure out where they are coming from or heading to and why they end up in the wrong places (often dangerous places) so frequently.

Here is an example from last week where I happened to have someone in the car with me to take photos. My intention here is not to call out the individual driver (though in this case he exhibited some pretty egregious decision making) but rather continue to shine a light on the issue in an effort to try to find the solution. Not a bandaid, but the solution.

Variations of what you see below have become a common occurrence on the townships road network. On a daily basis. 

So first, this is what it’s like staring down an oncoming truck on Willow Ln. The worst part happens just before this when the truck forces your right wheels almost entirely off the road and into someones front yard. *Note we actually got word today that PennDOT is honoring the townships request to post signs restricting trucks on Willow Ln. This of course is only part of the battle. As now the inevitable need to enforce the signs is the next step.

Staring down an 18 wheeler on Willow Ln.

Clearly lost, a little further along still on Willow Lane (after a couple more encroachments at the S turns after the bridge) The truck pulled over for a good 5 minutes. Blocking the crosswalk. Probably I would guess seeking directions. Those directions (as evidenced in the following photos) did not help. . .

Pulled over on the shoulder… blocking a crosswalk

You would think the truck is heading to Rt. 100. And you’d be correct. But not before an inexplicable detour around Willow Lane Elementary/Fire Station. Next the truck took a right onto Millcreek Rd. making a big circle around the fire dept. WLES. Here in this photo it is turning onto Sauerkraut Ln. Blatantly ignoring that Sauerkraut is restricted “no trucks”.

Right hand turn onto road posted “no trucks”

Finally making it out to Rt. 100, here the truck lines up to make the right hand turn taking up the entire left turn lane of Willow. Any car that gets into the right lane will be in a blind spot.

Taking up entire left turn lane to go right.

So now we got a straight shot to the trucks destination on Industrial Blvd.? (Pratt Industries) You would think, but not quite yet. Some more inexplicable decision making and subsequent havoc to cause first. Next our truck adventure takes a detour onto Gehman Rd. Here is where the fun really begins.

Next maneuver takes two pictures. Upon approaching Scenic View the truck sees and apparently decides to obey the signs prohibiting trucks from heading further up to Mountain Rd. This is good. As a ton of property damage has been done up that way. So instead of taking Scenic View (which I have argued in the past should be restricted as it ends up being the “turnaround”) The truck executes a jack-knifed u-turn.

Truck pulls into oncoming traffic lane preparing to pull a u-turn.

The U-turn. Stopped traffic in all directions for a few minutes. Moments after this photo the truck completely jack-knifed it’s trailers pushing it sideways through the mud.

The rest of the story is comparatively un-eventful. Just your standard multiple oncoming traffic encroachments but the driver managed to finally and thankfully without an accident make it to the destination (Pratt) on Industrial Blvd via Rt. 100 to Alburtis Rd.

Almost a half hour later, thankfully the truck finally arrives at Pratt Industries completely it’s harrowing Lower Mac adventure through the residential heart of our township.


 

 

State police DO enforce truck restrictions.

I’m going to answer or give my opinions on a bunch of comments I got on the poll I conducted last week about the proposed fee for state police. See the results here. One item I wanted to address right away. It deals with the notion that State Police do not enforce local truck restrictions.

This is not true.  They do enforce local truck restrictions. From Trooper Nederostak who is the townships primary liaison to the PSP – “Under section 6121 of Title 75, PA Vehicle Code, PSP is authorized to enforce any signage the township erects so long as it is an approved Traffic Control Device.  Approved Traffic Control Devises are listed in a Federal Regulation titled “Manual on Uniform Traffic-Control Devices for Streets and Highways.”  In essence, as long as you are putting up an approved sign, we absolutely enforce it.” 

They also respond to the townships guidance in terms of where trouble spots are. We also notify them of any new restriction. Most recently, Quarry, Creamery and Schoeneck Roads. In the near future Spring Creek and Trexlertown Rd. In other words we have an excellent and responsive working relationship.

Bottom line is PSP can and do enforce. They frequently patrol numerous truck trouble spots in the township. The problem as I see it is that enforcement alone isn’t the answer. And this is no matter who our provider is. Our issues relate to the fact that warehouses were allowed to be built (by prior boards) in horrible locations. To address the issue with enforcement would requirement officers in multiple locations 24 hours a day 7 days a week. That’s just not reasonable – again, whether we use the state police or would have a local or regional police force. I believe we could spend the many millions of dollars on a local force and most residents would not notice much of a change. The state police do an excellent job.

Now the fundamental question of whether it’s fair or not is valid. But as long as we have them (paying for them or not) they do an excellent job. And as stated above they DO enforce local truck restrictions. 

State police fee poll

Over the last week I conducted a poll on my Facebook page about police services and the proposed fee being considered by the Governor and others. I use Facebook polls because  the software limits votes to one per person. With it I can also reasonably check that folks who say they live in the township do. So while not scientific it’s a decent snapshot.

Here are the results:

100 people answered poll about state police over the last week. 95 were township residents.

75% of respondents felt that if Harrisburg passes a 25 dollar per resident fee requirement for local state police coverage that Lower Macungie should pay it to retain PSP coverage. (I agree)
Of the 25% that indicated we should move away from state police – 83% felt we should regionalize with a neighbor. 17% felt the township should form it’s own police force.
 
Of those who were township residents 75% felt that it was fair for the state to consider charging Lower Macungie. (I agree)
 

Of township respondents 57% felt the state police provided excellent service (ranked 5 or 4, 5 being the highest). 14% felt the state police were offering a poor level of service.

 

5 = Excellent level of service 1 = Poor level of service (Adds up to 92 since 5 respondents were from outside the township and 3 township respondents didn’t answer this question)

 
The poll wasn’t scientific but the software limits 1 vote per person (per account) and I can confirm that those who say they are residents are.
In another post I’ll address some of the comments. 

Fogelsville warehouse, restaurant and hotel sketch 

This project is not in Lower Mac but it’s of interest for a number of reasons. First, this directly deals with the proposed Adams Rd. interchange.  And second, since it shows a demand for smaller (but still very highly impactful) warehouses. Something other communities should monitor carefully. Even though each individual unit is small, the cumulative impact of having a number of them built on the same corridor is still significant. Something to watch closely. We should anticipate the same demand in Lower Mac and plan accordingly. When land becomes sparser for the mega facilities we have to be careful we don’t start getting these types projects.

This demonstrates why it’s important to not only pay close attention to what’s going on in our community but also our neighbors. Here is some newspaper coverage

The sketch referred to in the article wasn’t included in any of the articles so I went down to the Upper Mac township building filled out a quick right to know form and got a copy.  (see below) I want to say, this only took a few minutes. And the front desk lady was extremely nice and helpful.

There are a couple things to note:
1.) Adams Rd. interchange. This signals what many felt was going to be a problem. The new 30 million interchange is being proposed as an “outlet valve” to address existing traffic issues. This will certainly be paid for with state and federal dollars. The issue becomes if the area around the proposed new interchange is allowed to be built up with additional high impact uses we end up with the same problems. This cycle is called induced demand. And it’s a concern. The Adams Rd. interchange is a regionally important project. It’s on Upper Macungie to make sure it functions as it’s intended by influencing what gets built near it. That is to make sure it fixes existing issues. Not to induce more high impact projects. We want to solve the problem. Not create a whole host of new problems.

2.) This is not a good plan. Uninspiring. Encroaches on the Village of Fogelsville. Very heavy traffic generation. Highly impactful. That being said, this area is zoned for development. So the question isn’t stopping growth, it’s what eventually gets built. My opinion is what would work very nicely here is a traditional neighborhood development residential project. An excellent low impact neighborhood friendly fit for the area. Think of it as a project that would expand and compliment the existing character of Fogelsville instead of encroaching onto and straining it. Assume something will be built here. The question is what?

I’m very interested how conversations are going with Upper Mac planners and the development team. This isn’t in Lower Mac. But the Adams Rd. interchange and development that happens around it will impact us. 

Brief agenda tonight – Just a few action items.

Not going to do a full agenda preview in the same format as usual. There just aren’t that many action items tonight. Here is a link to the agenda.

Just a couple notes:
1.) We got word that a brake retarder prohibition was approved by PennDOT on Trexlertown Rd. and Spring Creek. Now the question I’m sure we’ll get is: “Well, aren’t those roads now restricted to trucks anyway?” Good question. The answer is yes, but only to trucks greater than 28 ft long. (I have to check to make sure that’s the length) That means other small trucks that still might be equipped with brake retarders (like say a dump truck) could still use the roads. And therefore the restriction would apply. So this is good news. We will post this restriction in the next few weeks and let the PSP know so they can enforce. 

2.) There is a land development hearing for a Mack Trucks expansion. Very happy to work with one of our biggest employers. Even though Mack is on a cyclical downturn now we’re helping them prepare for the next up-turn. The operation will be much more efficient because of these plant upgrades. This is a good plan. I support it. 

That’s really all there is that’s either new or action item for tonight. Since this is an abbreviated preview then what I normally do just let me know if you have any questions on anything not mentioned. Ronbeitler@gmail.com

-RB

Developers – Bring your ‘A’ game.

I like to say Lower Macungie Twp. is open for business. But with two caveats. 
1.) Developers bring your ‘A’ game. 
2.) Look to build your projects in the appropriate places as identified by our comprehensive plans and voluntarily buy into our vision for high quality development. 

Yes, Lower Macungie is interested in preserving farmland. And to that end we’ve outlined an aggressive strategy over the last 3 years. We’ve successfully preserved nearly 300 acres of farmland and open space. Other targets are outlined on our official map. The map gives us the ability to make offers (at appraised value) on land before it’s developed. It’s our intention to do that on many of our large remaining greenfield properties. Voters stated loud and clear last 2 elections this was the priority.

So where does that leave us to build out? The answer is the Hamilton Blvd. corridor. Primarily this means redevelopment and infill projects. This is a corridor where taxpayers have already made key investments in infrastructure and now seek to cash in on them. The corridor is already well positioned close to shopping options, near existing access to major regional roadways and job centers. This is where additional traffic can be handled with good planning and the impacts managed.

What does this mean? Developers, landowners and builders – come to us with your high quality and unique ideas. We’re done with cookie cutter slop. Come to us with high quality purpose built structures. Not spec designs. Innovative plans. And high quality design.

Hamilton is going to be the townships bread-basket. A high quality and value, walkable, bike-able pedestrian friendly and aesthetically pleasing Boulevard. (Not Macarthur Rd.) I think we’re close to done with the major shopping centers. Our township has our fill.

Ready to build on the Boulevard? Here are 5 rules of thumb. 

Rule number 1. First and foremost respect the Historic Hamilton Tree Colonnade. Embrace it as the asset that it is. Work within it, not against it. Where gaps exist plan on replanting.

We will fight to preserve our historic Sycamore trees. They are the defining feature of the Boulevard and a local heritage treasure.

 

Rule number 2. Come with unique proposals. High quality purpose built ideas and plans. Let’s innovate to create unique people oriented places. 

Let’s get creative. Think outside the box. Something like this? Let’s talk. Our zoning code is in place to protect us from bad projects. Have a cool idea? We will work with you. Most important of all make your projects unique.

OR THIS:

This commercial building is built on a human scale. Aesthetically pleasing with lots of lush landscaping.

NOT THIS:

No. Just no. Generic, monoculture, bland. Low value. Non-existent landscaping. Even if this was “dolled up” with some say stone veneers or some other lipstick, this pig is exactly the built form we want to avoid. (and why we recently reduced our front yard setback requirements) Put the parking to the side and rear. Our Boulevard will not be defined by parking lots.

 

Rule number 3 – Exceed our ordinance with landscaping. The ordinance represents the bare minimum. We want to attract developers willing to exceed the bare minimum.
DO THIS:

Planting strips and shade trees reduce heat, improve stormwater quality, and beautify retail areas, especially when designed as naturalized infiltration areas. The ordinance is the bear minimum required. Do you want to just meet the bare minimum? Or do you want to help us build a special place.

AND THIS.

Soften your buildings with four season landscaping.

OR THIS

Rule number 4 – Right size your signage.
WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO AVOID IN ONE PICTURE.

This picture represents what I like to call a “sign arms race”.  A total planning failure. In this picture it’s all about who can be gaudiest, highest and brightest. Our boulevard will be property scaled. Because of this visibility will be very high. You do not need to build the biggest signs.

MAKE YOUR MONUMENT SIGN VERY ATTRACTIVE. After all, why wouldn’t you? This is your chance to show off your business. 

Our ordinance now requires monument signs. (which really it’s silly to build a pylon anyhow since required street trees will block your sign eventually). Monument signs offer maximum visibility and reduce sign clutter and pollution.

Get creative. This sign is perfectly scaled, attractive and context sensitive. This is a high end salon and their sign reinforces that. This business is on the Boulevard today. A fantastic partner. And the benchmark for quality.

 

Rule number 5 – Keep your parking to the side or the rear. High quality architecture should be the defining feature. Not a sea of asphalt.

With this bank the attractive building is the defining feature. Not the asphalt of a parking lot. Plenty of parking. (and a drive through!) But it’s located in the rear. Keep the drive thru’s hidden.

DON’T DO THIS

NO. Just no.

If you must have parking in front of buildings, be prepared to screen the headlights.

Street trees, screened parking. Great orientation. This is a Main Street feel. Not a commercial strip feel.

Over the last 5 years we’ve had some good projects and some not so good projects built. Without really calling out the dogs, I’d rather focus on the good stuff. Here is an example of a nice infill project that fits the vision.
-Infill & redevelopment project (as opposed to greenfield)
-Walkability
-Context sensitive
-Attractive high quality design
-Low impact

Aside from the pole sign which is far too tall and will someday be obscured by street trees (a monument would have been much more visible and attractive) This project was an excellent addition to the Boulevard. Attractive design, bulk of the parking in the rear, walkability, a second story adds appraised value and increases ROI. Overall a great project.

Though not built in Lower Mac, this is the blueprint for the Boulevard. It was project built on Main Street in Hellertown recently.

These are some baselines. Our township ordinances represent bare min requirements for health, safety and design. But why would you want to just simply meet the bare minimum? We’re not so much interested in regulating quality as we our encouraging it. In fact we’ve worked hard to reduce un-necessary regulations that acted as barriers to good projects. We’ve right sized parking requirements by reducing excessive parking requirements, reduced front yard setbacks, created an expedited review process for small projects. All these moves were made to encourage excellent projects.

End the day to do that we need developers/builders who buy into what we want the Boulevard to become. If you share our vision take a look at what our township has to offer.

What are our guiding documents and where can you find them? 
Township official map – Where we want to preserve.
The Hamilton Corridor Study – Where and how we want to build out.

Whitehall weighs cap on campaign contributions.

Whitehall weighs cap on campaign contributions.

Good policy. Due to the smaller scale, local elections can easily be bought and paid for by special interests. Case in point. If you recall this was attempted when I first ran in 2013. An out of town special interest PAC pumped a ton of money into the 3 incumbents campaigns. So much so that as a group those incumbents actually ran television commercials. Unprecedented in a local township race. At one point, it got so ridiculous that residents were bombarded with numerous robo calls bought and paid for by that same PAC. You could tell immediately the PAC had no actual ties to the area since the recording actually mispronounced “Macungie”. End of the day it didn’t matter as we prevailed with our much lower budget because we focused on an issues based  campaign centered around hitting doors.

These limits make good sense. While we don’t have them in Lower Mac, I’d support a similar initiative. Absent of having limits in place, candidates can always self limit. And I’ve done just that. For this cycle no person, PAC, organization or entity can contribute more than $75.00 to my campaign. 

The first year I ran, I did receive a number of donations well above that amoun. Those folks got no special influence. Still, I want to completely eliminate even the perception that any single person or entity ever could. Certainly not due to disproportionately large contributions. The simple solution is a contribution cap. One self imposed if need be. Does that mean leaving money on the table? Yes. But it’s the right thing to do.

I also believe that more donations of smaller amounts is much more meaningful than just a few large ones. In a week I’ve raised just over 300 dollars. The average donation has been 40 bucks. Some as high as $75 and 1 as low as $10.  Goal is $2,500. Plenty for signs, 1-2 high quality informational mailers, postage, a kickoff event and palm cards.

Will you help me raise $2,500 with a small donation today? A donation of any amount up to $75.00 is very helpful. Even small amounts go a long way. A donation of 5 dollars pays for a sign. 25 dollars is about 75 mailers with postage.


Checks can be mailed to:
5540 Lower Macungie Rd.
Macungie, PA
18062
*Checks should be made payable to “Elect Ron Beitler”
Or you can contribute right now via Paypal by clicking this link.

 

 

 

Last look in Lower Mac Elementary.

Though exceedingly frustrating the East Penn School District did not give the township the opportunity to consider purchasing the property before selling it off to a developer (the value being the land, and opportunity to align Krocks and Spring Creek Rd., which we would have definitely pursued.), it was very nice of them to let the Lower Macungie Twp. Historical Society take one last look around to document. I went with them in the building today.

I attended LMES for 4 years. Kindergarten through 3rd grade (1986-1989.) First time inside the building in a very long time. Lots of memories. The society took many pictures, below are a few I snapped. You will be able to see more at some point the future at the Lower Macungie Township History Museum. It’s currently being built in the newly renovated Camp Olympic barn.

The old school is sold and will be demolished. A memory care center will be built in it’s place. Could start as early as next week.

When I attended LMES the “Main entrance” was in the back of the building up a set of stairs. This sign greeted guests. This might be a new one since I attended.


The Main Entrance in the back of the building. The “front door” you see from Lower Mac Rd. was only used for fire drills when I attended.


At some point after my years this mural was added near the Main entrance in what was the Kindergarten Classrooms when I went here. Does anyone know any information about this mural? Who painted and what time period?


My Kindergarten classroom. “Afternoon Shelly”.


The Main Corridor which was basically the only corridor. The classrooms all have color themes that match the doors.


One of a few plaques in the stairwell to the basement. This one commemorating (I’m guessing) The original playground equipment. A gift from the East Texas Summer School Association.


The Multipurpose space. A center of activity. Gym/stage/cafeteria. My most vivid memory from here was a few times year in gym class there would be setup a giant indoor play structure. I remember it taking up (what seemed like) the whole gym. The teacher was Mr. Seip who was the high school swimming coach I think.


Very small hallway downstairs. The lunch line area was to the left. Beyond that boiler room. Up the stairs and to the right was a school store when I went. You could buy your “wolves” gear. We were wolves, Wescosville was (is?) Owls. They still are right?


The historical society grabbed this mat that was at the (true) front door for the township historical museum they are currently building to be housed at the newly renovated Camp Olympic barn.


Was pretty amazing to think that basically the entire building administration (that I can remember) was in very tiny office suite. I mean really, really small. Basically one room with two carved out areas. I imagine one for the Principal. One for guidance counselor. Anyone remember who was in the offices in the late 80’s? I don’t recall who the principal was.


So everyones favorite teacher when I went was Mr. Kovalovich or “Mr. K”. I had him for third grade. And I’m 90% sure this was the entrance to his room. It was a corner room.


Remember these?


Lockers were all in the individual classrooms.


The “nerve center” in the Main office. An intercom system was to the left I believe.


Years after I left LMES when I was in Jr. high (Eyer) and High School since I lived in nearby in East Texas  I spent many, many days on this basketball court playing roller hockey with friends. This was the home of the “Shepherd Hills Swamp Monkeys. ” We played Ice Hockey on a frozen pond nearby in winter on the Golf Course.


The playground. Updated since I went. What I most remember from elementary school recess was 1.) Boxball, 2) playing Thundercats with a guy who is still today one of my best friends (and business partner) and 3.) obsessing over a large rock under a tree we called the “secret rock”. LOL

 

See more photos of the Elementary School and learn more about all kinds of Lower Macungie Twp. History at the soon to be opened Lower Macungie History Museum at Camp Olympic.


I just wanted to wear my boyscout uniform for this LMES picture day. 🙂