Latest quarry concept plan 2 phase line item budget.

The latest line item budget for the Quarry Park concept plan. Needless to say I have some major concerns. The total project over 2 phases is now potentially up and over 6M dollars.

If I am reading this correctly (I have asked for clarification) the turf component specifically (including items directly related to turf) is about 60%+ of Phase 1.

From day 1 my objection to this has been the financial justification for the turf component of the project.
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Quarry Park concept presentation thoughts

Below is a memo I wrote to the Public Works Committee after seeing last night’s first presentation of the latest Quarry Park Concept plan. This outlines some topics and items I hope to discuss at future planning meetings. As stated in the memo, while I felt synthetic fields weren’t the best investment in our park system now that the issue has been settled we need to now focus on the best design possible.

WFMZ has a photo and article here.

Manager & Public works committee,

Here are some thoughts after listening to discussion from last night on the latest concept plan. 
First, now that decision has been made to move forward although I disagree that synthetic fields are the best way to spend taxpayer dollars to address field use issues that issue is settled. I am now motivated to have the best project possible. I think the latest plan is an improvement over the initial sketch. That being said here are some concerns and items I feel strongly about.
1. As far as configuration and number of fields and design I want to see the math that justifies certain designs. If the problem is field usage then we should be sure design addresses that problem. To demonstrate this: What is the usage now, what is the current deficiency (sport specific) and how many more playable hours (sport specific) would new/different configurations of park provide? 2. I’m sure this has already been discussed but security must be a part of a concept plan. This should include video monitoring. We have to protect our 600,000 investment. A fully designed security plan should be a part of the concept plan.
3. I don’t support any additional volume of scheduled use at Quarry above and beyond what is currently scheduled until the Saurkraut punch through is finished. This would allow for signalized access to Rt. 100. I’m not interested in delaying the build. We can design and build the project, but scheduling should be kept at current levels until the punch through is complete. Any major tournaments or additional usage based on synthetic fields is inappropriate as long as the primary access is an offset un-signalized intersection on Rt. 100.
4. I feel strongly that “task force” meetings should be public and would request that the planning commission, EAC , LMYA and Parks and Recreation board have a formal chance to review and weigh in on the concept plan before we get to deep into it as a courtesy.5. Any future public vetting of plans Astroturf/consultants should have two copies one for the Board/committee and one for the public which can be displayed on a easel. It was impossible last night for anyone in attendance to see the plan. 

5. I don’t know if room permits but establishment of a Greenway trailhead should be considered. (Since this is a recommendation of of the Parks Comprehensive plan specifically for Quarry Park)

6. Reduction of the amount of proposed impermeable parking. I know we need some additional and that’s fine. But the amount proposed seems excessive. Have we considered overflow parking in designated grass areas? We should build parking to handle normal park usage accounting for increased volume of synthetic fields. Tournament or other highest intensity usage should utilize overflow parking in non paved areas. (stone or grass) We should also consider the potential to design more parking, but not build it right away. We can “bank” future lots and build as justified.

Since this parcel is next to the river we should include best practice greening and sustainable storm water management of new parking areas.

7. What is justification for additional storage buildings.
8. Are we addressing deficiencies? I remember during parks comp plan mtg’s it was stated we are:
Deficient one baseball diamond currently.
Have a surplus of Soccer and “rectangular” Fields
Since the current plan increases playing hours on rectangle fields but loses one diamond at Quarry where are we gaining at lest 2 diamonds? And can that location be lit with natural grass diamonds.9. The concept plan should account for potential acquisition of the Muse parcel. I think this was stated last night. Just want to ensure. Should maybe include a sketch of possible muse layout.
10. I agree with the Dog Park group, Sara and the Parks board that the first Dog Park should be at Olympic. But we should if space allows sketch in location for potential 2nd park at Quarry. This can be on future muse acquisition of existing park. Ron

Lower Macungie Agenda Preview – 2/19

FYI –  In these previews I may indicate thoughts on an issue, but it in no way means my mind is set. During a critical hearing for the Jaindl issue, a Commissioner spoke before public comment outlining he was voting to move forward the project regardless of what people said during public comment. That was wrong. Public debate was circumvented when the Commissioner indicated his mind was made up.

My hope is by blogging I open the door for conversations before issues are settled. One of my biggest issues with the Jaindl debacle was folks didn’t truly understand what was happening until it was “too late”. This is one mechanism to avoid that. I hope people find it useful. 

Farr Tract Rezoning Request:
This property located at Lower Macungie Rd. and Cedar Crest Rd. is currently zoned S Suburban. The applicant is seeking a text amendment to allow restricted over 55 as a condition. The developers have submitted a sketch plan that calls for 142 homes on 54 acres at the northwest corner of Cedar Crest and Lower Macungie Road.

Both the Planning and Zoning Committee (PZ) and Planning Commission (see letter below) have recommended rejecting this request. I sit on the PZ. My views reflect that of the planning commission on this issue. 

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 1.47.01 PMCommunication
Resident Donald Richards writes asking for an ordinance to control distribution of free newspapers like the merchandiser. This is something we’ve talked about recently. The problem is when people are away these papers stack up as a tell-tale sign the house is empty. Also in the winter the papers often get buried under snow… then when you go through with a blower it jams up the intake. These are just a couple of examples on why we should take a look at this issue see what we can do. Maybe evaluate what other communities do.

Dept. Matters
Approving the Southwestern Lehigh County Plan Inter-municipal agreement. I support this. 
The plan is a non-binding document created 7 years ago in a joint effort by Emmaus, Alburtis, Macungie, Upper Milford & Lower Macungie.

This original Plan was funded by grants. The Comprehensive Plan is intended to establish overall policies for the development and conservation of the Southwestern Lehigh County Region over the next 15 years. This Plan is not by itself a regulation, but is intended to provide the policy direction for changes to the municipalities’ development regulations.

Recently there has been consensus to update the plan. This was largely necessitated because Lower Macungie has significantly deviated from the plan.  The biggest example of course was the Jaindl development debacle and rezoning of 700 acres of ag protected land to Industrial, Strip Commercial and Residential.

Manager Report:
The manager will be requesting moving forward Quarry Park Synthetic Field Turf Project and NPDES permitting. I voted against inserting this project into the budget and have been vocal in opposition. More information here. I think it’s important to to invest in our parks but I don’t believe this is the most cost effective way to do it.

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Synthetic fields facts & research – Answers to common questions

Over the next week on this page I will be compiling to the best of my abilities answers to many common questions we have received from the public regarding the Quarry Park turf field proposal. Recently, I voted against earmarking 1.5 Million Dollars in surplus money (total cost of line item 3.3M) to fund a proposal for turf fields as part of the 2015 budget proposal. At this time I am not convinced that the synthetic field aspect of the concept plan is the best way to address township field use issues. As an alternative I have proposed informally that we should instead concentrate on less expensive alternatives to address current field use issues. For example, more lights on existing grass fields and a natural grass field expansion plan.

Volumes of information are available on the internet regarding this topic. However, I am limiting links and information on this page to:
1. Academic research or pieces that directly cite academic research. (Focus on Penn State Materials since this was the program who presented in front of the township)

2. Research through the Township Manager
a. In most cases this is the opinion of our hired consultant

3. Utilize current information. The so called 3rd generation of turf fields have made major advances in safety. It’s important to consider only the latest information available.

4. The costs for Synthetic fields include *concept plan proposed vs. Township natural Grass fields with native soils. The costs for fields are taken out of overall budget proposal. I support both lights and upgrades to existing facilities including additional parking using developer money. I do not support synthetic fields.
*amenities have been removed. This is just comparison of playing surfaces.

Much of the information you find during cursory web searches is often produced by companies trying to sell the products. Therefore it takes a little effort to find un-biased information.

*Concept plan overview by Lower Macungie’s paid consultant. D’huy engineering. The township incurred 4,000.00 cost  to draft concept plan

Was the option to build additional grass fields on township property considered by staff as a less expensive alternative to synthetic?

  • “No” – Twp. Manager


What is the specific brand proposed:

  • This is typically part of the design process during which the surface is chosen by the Township. Commonly several different manufacturers and models will be reviewed for both quality and cost.” – Twp. Manager

Proposed infill:

  • Infill for turf fields is most commonly crumb rubber mixed with silica.  There are alternatives made from cork and other products but they have not been on the market for very long, have very few US installations, and have been found in some cases to have a lower level of performance.  Colors and mixes vary between manufacturers.  Field Turf offers an infill product made from ground up sneakers that comes at a premium cost.  There is also a coconut husk product recently installed in Maryland (  There isn’t much performance data available yet on these alternative products.  Both come at a premium cost and could easily be bid as alternates on your project.” – Twp. Manager

Rendering: See Below

Lifecycle Costs & Benefits
Q- Initial costs to install Synthetic Field vs. Natural Grass (according to Penn State research)

  • Natural Grass with native soil 2.25-5.25 per square ft. (Will get actual cost for LMT to install a new grass field cost/square ft.)

Q- Q- Initial costs to install Synthetic Field vs. Natural Grass (according to concept plan and LMT public works)

  • Synthetic: 850,000 for two fields according to proposal. Includes lining for multiple sports.
  • Natural Grass: Cost to install one natural grass field is 10,000 dollars according to LMT public works department.

Q – Annual Maintenance Costs (according to sports turf managers association)

  • Synthetic Infill 6,000 per year in materials and 375 labor hours per year.  (need proposal specific information) *sports managers association
  • Natural Grass – According to LMT public works The yearly costs to maintain a typical field (180’ x 360’ =64,800 sq. ft.) would be around. $ 3,275.00 depending on the number of *cuts required.” This is based on yearly average of 35 cuts

Q- Replacement costs in 10-15 years for Synthetic Field  (10-15 years is the stated timeframe in the concept plan presentation – Link above)

  • Replacement costs for two fields is 800,000-900,000 in today’s dollars. (Twp. Manager) Add 3% inflation = 1,142,328.92 (amount * (1 + inflation rate)^number years)

Q- Revenue projections over 10 year lifespan

  • According to township manager this is a board decision and has not been taken into account yet. “   This will be a policy established by the Board of Commissioners.” – Twp. Manager

Q-Will final draft of field use agreement apply to Quarry same as any other township field?

  • Currently LMYA gets usage of Community center gym rent free. Will this same policy apply to Quarry field? – Draft in progress

Health/Injury issues Grass vs. Turf
Q- Long Term Health Risks
coming soon

Q- Does synthetic field increase injury risks vs. grass?

  • Answer – Concern risk is Low with correct footware but Medium to High with incorrect footware.

Bullet Points: (source Pennstate center for sports surface research) 

  • Most critical is right shoe for the surface. The correct shoe on synthetic turf dramatically reduces risk. Without the right foot ware injuries on turf fields increase dramatically.
  • Compared to grass fields not maintained to optimal conditions or very dry, synthetic fields can actually reduce risk of serious injuries although incidents of minor injuries (mainly abrasions) increase.

Q- Does synthetic field increase risk of staph infections? Answer – Concern risk is Low.

Bullet Points: (source Pennstate center for sports surface research)

  • The sun acts as disinfectant.

Surface and Air Temperature issues related to Synthetic Turf.

Q – What are the health issues related to surface heat? Answer – Concern risk is High.

Bullet Points: (source Pennstate center for sports surface research)

  • Children are less able to adapt to changes in Temperature – Higher potential for heat related injury.
  • In central Pennsylvania surface temperatures have been measured up to 175 degrees on synthetic fields measured on days when the surrounding air temperature is 79 degrees.
  • Generally synthetic turf registers 35 to 55 degrees hotter than natural grass.
  • Techniques to reduce surface temperature on hot days add labor and cost considerations.



Unknowns/future policy decisions to be made by the board if project moves forward:

What is the best and worse case scenarios for completion of the Sauerkraut punch through? (Completion of this planned project will allow for access to quarry park from a signalized intersection.)

  • Township engineer has been working with all parties methodically through each step and would not want to guess on a completion date. – Twp. Manager


What is the projected revenue stream that will be used to fund replacement costs? Are user fees being considered?

  • This will be a policy established by the Board of Commissioners. – Twp. Manager

Will LMYA be able to utilize the fields for free similar to the arrangement for the community center?

  • This will be a policy established by the Board of Commissioners. –  Twp. Manager

Vote to remove Quarry from Budget fails 3-2

Two Commissioners fail to stop 3.3 Million Dollar Quarry Plan

I am pleased that a motion was made last night to force an up/down vote on the line item. When you have an issue where there is a clear disconnect between the public, stakeholders and Commissioners it’s important residents know clearly where elected officials stand. The vote last night showed that.

In favor:
Brian Higgins
Ryan Conrad
Jim Lancsek

Concerned for numerous reasons: I list mine here and here
Doug Brown

With this clear information voters now can cast votes accordingly when they perform job reviews on the 5 seated Commissioners.

Couple other bottom lines for me:

First, the project isn’t supported by the most significant stakeholders including the Rec board or LMYA and synthetic fields aren’t a top priority in adopted Parks and Recreation comprehensive plan which lists dozens of other recommendations. Synthetic fields are merely mentioned but not identified as a top priority nor are they supported as a priority by any survey or poll. In spending this large amount of money I would look for a high level of consensus and grass roots support. Neither exists here. As a member of the public pointed out last night, this is not our money to spend based on our personal wants.

Next, the proposal and line item was inserted into the proposed budget literally out of nowhere. The whole process felt was rushed. Never in my life have I seen a local municipality decide to spend 3.3 million dollars (13% of the total budget) on one line item with so little public discussion and so few answers to the most basic questions.

Lastly, residents at the latest BOC Mtg. complained directly we weren’t answering simple questions. Unfortunately, in this case I agree with them. Personally I try to respond to every communication and question we get. The problem is I do not have answers. And apparently based on silence from 4 other commissioners when asked repeatedly the same basic questions about the project no one else does either.

We have not done nearly enough due diligence on this issue. This is fundamentally why I voted to remove the line item from the budget. Last night we needed to pump the brakes on this project but that effort failed 3-2.

Moving forward:
The budget process and Quarry’s inclusion in it simply earmarks money for the project for one years timeframe.  In the coming year there will definitely be much more consideration as planning for the project moves forward. Eventually there will be more votes to authorize the project construction.

The park will also certainly be an item voters consider in next May’s primaries when Commissioner Brown and Lancsek run for re-election. 

Camp Olympic – A how to guide to developing a park.

I’ve been critical of the Quarry Park synthetic field proposal. More so than any one critique of the actual plan for me it’s more about how I think local gov’t should spend taxpayer money on park improvements. Although I have said that for me synthetic fields are very far down the list of my park priorities.

With the Quarry synthetic fields we have a proposal that materialized seemingly out of nowhere as a 3.3 million line item. As it stands now looks like this will be approved with Commissioners Lancsek, Conrad & Higgins supporting. Myself & Doug Brown have concerns.

As an alternative to that type of windfall reaction budgeting (in other words how quickly can we spend “found money”) is the way we purchased and incrementally developed the entire 120 acre Camp Olympic based on a master plan and funded through grants, public private partnerships, volunteers and incremental funding. Contrasting these two projects shows two very different philosophies of how you plan and fund major park improvements.

Camp Olympic:
Since purchase of the 120 acre park and subsequent adoption of a master plan over 4 years we’ve incrementally secured funding for improvements. Much of that in the form of grants. Each year one or more components were addressed. Over time some aspects of the plan were scrapped. Others added as we tweaked and adjusted based on feedback. Many improvements were considered and prioritized over time by our volunteer parks and recreation board.

First we upgraded the access driveway and bathrooms taking care of basic infrastructure needed to support more intense uses.

Next, we sold auxiliary buildings that didn’t fit into long term plans. Then through a private/public partnership via a generous donation from Bear Creek Mountain Resort we began designing a disc golf course. Construction will begin next year. Clearing of the course will be done by volunteers through the Lehigh Valley Disc Golf Club working with our public works dept.

Camp Olympic disc golf course is the result of a volunteer group spearheading the effort. Bear Creek Mountain Resort donated the baskets.

Camp Olympic disc golf course is the result of a volunteer group spearheading the effort. Bear Creek Mountain Resort donated the baskets.

Last 2 years our volunteer EAC has spearheaded tree plantings funded by grants reinforcing the parks overall theme as a conservation park. CO offers some of the best publicly accessible fishing spots in the township.

The park is now interconnected with adjacent homes through the volunteer efforts of an Eagle Scout who constructed a trail connection as an Eagle Scout project.

Over time we’ve secured grant monies for an eco park and BMX pump park. (Both coming next year!) We designated an area for community gardens. This past year rented 40 plots out to residents. Finishing the year we’ll use green futures funds to refurbish pavilions, the bridge and barn and access to the upper facility will be improved with a new loop road.

In the future as we continue to carry out the parks and rec comp plan the park may be a location for a potential dog park.

Additional adjacent land could be acquired in the future as well. This land is identified by the CO master plan and could be used as active parkland with the potential for Soccer or multi use fields with the added benefits of additional parking, another trailhead and access off of Lower Macungie Rd.

In every measurable way, Olympic has been a prime example of how you plan, develop and fund a 120 acre park. The multiple facets of the park serve many varied interests and are the results of many stakeholders working together for years. by incrementally executing the plan staff was able to identify varied sources of funding and support. 

What’s a PUMP PARK? Check this video out:




VBLOG – Lower Mac Quarry Park: Understanding the 1 time windfall

How does a township justify a property tax increase (first in a decade) and then one year later include in a proposed budget line item of a 3.3M to fund a proposed synthetic regional field at Quarry Park? The answer lies primarily in 3 one time windfalls that led to one time additional monies this year. They can be categorized as:

-Real Estate Transfer Taxes
-Hamilton Crossings Recreation Fee money
-One time budget transfer of a surplus from the Solid Waste Fund. (refuse bills)

Whether or not spending this money on synthetic fields is the right decision is a topic for later this week. Here were some initial thoughts I had.

This video deals with explaining the 3 sources of 1 time money that led to a discussion about spending 3.3M at Quarry. Before we discuss spending or NOT spending the money it’s important to understand how we got it.


Quarry Park

Last night at the first budget workshop the Board of Commissioners (BOC) for the first time since the plan was unveiled engaged in a dialogue about the 3.3M quarry park proposal. It’s safe to say at this time Commissioners Higgins and President Conrad seem to be in favor of the 3.3M line item. Myself and Commissioner Brown expressed reservations. Commissioner Lancsek was quiet and did not speak directly on the topic. Here is the express times coverage. 

I outlined the project in my agenda preview for the 9/18 meeting when the concept plan was first unveiled

I spent two weeks since conducting what I felt was essential due diligence meeting with: Township manager and staff, fellow Commissioners, LMYA President, Township Parks & Recreation board and many residents.

I am comfortable saying at this point I do not support the budget item as proposed today. There are number of factors why. Neither the Parks Board or LMYA has come out saying turf fields are an immediate priority. I also believe that expenditures of this magnitude warrant more than just a few weeks of public discussion. And lastly, I prefer these sorts of big ticket concept plans being funded incrementally over time in phases. This way we can install an improvement, gauge it’s success and then if warranted continue to execute the plan by funding more improvements. It’s safe to say considering an expenditure of this magnitude in such a short time frame would be unprecedented.

Additionally, it’s important to understand that for a long time now the twp. has been VERY supportive of our park system. Over the years we have made significant investments on an annual basis. We continue to do so year after year. In fact on average since 2003 the township has spent 333,000 dollars a year on park land improvements.This doesn’t include: Staff, LMYA & Lazors contributions, the township parks programs ect.

I challenge anyone to find another Lehigh County municipality who consistently spends on average more per year than Lower Macungie. I contend today the greater need for the parks system isn’t land improvements but rather addressing ongoing maintenance and staffing issues. For years now the parks board has requested additional dedicated parks staff. Personally I take that a step further and believe we need a FT or PT manager position specifically for parks. There is some logic in considering this a pre-requisite to building a regional athletic complex. Administration of a new complex was a concern raised by LMYA and the Parks Board.


That being said, it is important to understand where the money has come from allowing this conversation at all. Primarily it is the following one-time sources.


  • A transfer of money from the solid waste fund
  • Real Estate Transfer Tax Associated with Jaindl Warehouses. To date we have collected 120,000 with another 60,000 expected soon totally 200,000. This is from the first 3 of 7 warehouses associated with the Spring Creek debacle. There is a possibility for up to 4 more though only 3 so far have come through land development.
  • Hamilton Crossings Recreation Impact Fee. (in lieu of orginally proposed bypass ballfields) Approx 600,000


These include but are not limited to items such as:
Playing fields, upgrades and courts for: Basketball, Tennis, Pickleball, Baseball dugouts
Playground equipment, Parking areas, Pavillions, Pool Slide and other pool improvements
Crosswalks, Ampitheater, Fences, Bathrooms, Hills at Lockridge community center
New gym floor

This is just a small sampling of the many items improved or built over the last decade or so. I support continuing this level of spending on our park system augmented with developer impact fees whenever possible.

Alternate Proposal & Priorities

Lastly, at the end of the meeting President Conrad challenged those who expressed concern to “bring alternative proposals to the table on Oct. 29″. I found that a bit alarming since it almost reflects a philosophy that since we have extra money this year we should quickly figure out a way to spend it. I disagree with that thinking. 

There is another alternative. That is not spend the money at all this year. Again, we do not have to spend the money. Politicians so quick and eager to spend public money is a part of the problem with gov’t at all levels.

But Conrad has asked for alternative proposals. If the board insists on spending this money then here is a list of items I prioritize higher.

1. Open Space Acquisition. There is a mandate for this. I ran very clearly on a preservation platform defeating 2 incumbents by large margins. Secondly, the 20/20 visioning plan, the Parks Comprehensive plan and other webpage surveys all show an overwhelming majority supports open space preservation. I believe open space preservation is a strategy we must employ to keep taxes low over the long term. I outline that here.

2. Infrastructure improvements. The ACT 209 plan identifies intersections that are failing under current conditions and also ones likely to fail under future development. Not having to spend money on certain major capital improvements directly relates to item number 1. But there are a number of problem intersections today. Brookside and East Texas Rd. & Brookside and Indian Creek are two. These are two priorities for me.

Above represents 2 areas unrelated to park improvements that I see as higher priorities today. All these items have been the topic of extensive conversation over the past few years. However, since Conrad requested I am prepared to propose a specific alternate plan relating to this years budget which would include:

1. Budgeting the Hamilton Crossings Rec Fee money to lights at Quarry in 2015. This in my mind represents a responsible start to exploring upgrading Quarry. I support spending all the collected recreation fees on Quarry. This is approx 600,000. The responsible way to fund a comprehensive plan is  to do so incrementally over time. This sets the wheels in motion to get our regional field, but to do so in a more fiscally responsible way.

1a. Expanding the Quarry Turf concept plan to a full comprehensive plan for the whole park including a dog park. This ensures more residents benefit from Quarry upgrades.

2. Budgeting for a Dog Park in 2015. This is a relatively (compared to turf plan) low cost item. This is also an item that has been “on the radar” so to speak for nearly 2 years. The Parks Board has had a dog park point person for well over a year. There exists a resident group that expressed support for the project and a Facebook group with over 100 members who are actively lobbying for a dog park. Approx 25,000

3. Budgeting for either a FT or PT parks manager to hold an admin role. I consider this a pre-requisite to any major expansion of our park system. Esp any expansion that would enter us into the realm of managing regional parks. This manager should be hired and in place before construction of any admin heavy uses like regional park or dog park.

4. Open space preservation “lock box” of Jaindl funds. “Banking” the approx 200,000 (with potential for up to 500,000 upon build out) in one time real estate transfer taxes gained Jaindl warehouses to an open space preservation fund. I feel very strongly about this. This is money generated from the loss of 700 acres of farmland. All Commissioners including those that supported the rezoning expressed “regret” at losing the land. So I see this one time money associated with that project as a chance to recapture open space in other areas. To me, this is a no-brainer. After having lost 700 acres, a goal should be to preserve 700 acres elsewhere. The recent EAC whitepaper identified some potential targets. This includes 4 tracts with the potential to be developed with over 1,100 units. This would roughly equal about 3,500 new residents.

Surplus. Planning for fiscal sustainability. The remaining money should not be spent this year. It should be held over undesignated in surplus until the board sets it’s policy on the homestead exclusion which I proposed in January as a way to reduce the tax burden of homeowners through an assessment reduction. At that point, we will have a much clearer picture of the township finances moving forward.

The above plan addresses long standing needs. Sets the Quarry plan wheels in motion, but “pumps the brakes” on spending 3.3M+ in one budget cycle. It also sets us up to be able to manage a regional facility in the future. And lastly, by “banking” the rest of the surplus it allows us to understand the impacts of the Homestead property tax assessment reduction. This will allow for a clearer picture of township finances moving forward. 



Lower Macungie Township Agenda Preview 9/18/14

FYI –  In these previews I may indicate thoughts on an issue, but it in no way means my mind is set. During a critical hearing for the Jaindl issue, a Commissioner spoke before public comment outlining he was voting to move forward the project regardless of what people said during public comment. That was wrong. Public debate was circumvented when the Commissioner indicated his mind was made up.

My hope is by blogging I open the door for conversations. One of my biggest issues with the Jaindl debacle was folks didn’t truly understand what was happening until it was “too late”. I plan on doing everything I can to make sure residents have background information on issues. This is one mechanism to do that. I hope people find it useful. Please contact me at if you have any questions or concerns about any issues.

Here is the Agenda with Detail

Hearings: Plan approval Trexlertown Shopping Center. This is a pad site that will be next to the Giant gas station. This is a project that was a part of initial concept but never built. The likely user will be the People First Credit Union which will move to this new facility that will include a drive through. The existing credit union will be an expanded state store. 

Announcements and presentations – QUARRY PARK PROPOSAL – This will be the big agenda item tonight. Please bear in mind this will be the first time I have seen this presentation and also the first time it’s presented in public. I have no opinion on this now other then I need more information.

First some background information. A few weeks ago we budgeted 3,000 to hire a consultant D’huy engineering to come up with a concept plan for quarry park centering around the installation of lights and turf fields.

Tonight’s presentation is that concept plan. (IT IS JUST A CONCEPT NOW) This was moved forward since these improvements were identified as part of the recently adopted parks and recreation comprehensive plan.

Here is an outline of what’s in the proposal:

  • Lower Macungie Township has hired D’Huy Engineering to develop a plan for Quarry that includes artificial turf and lighted fields. The cost was 3000.00. This was a recommendation of the adopted Parks & Recreation plan. (I supported creating the concept plan)
  • Lighted, turf fields are suggested in the Township’s recently completed Parks & Recreation Plan. The Board made the decision that Quarry was best location to explore these options. (I support this notion)
  • The proposed project scope includes:
    • (2) artificial turf fields for lacrosse, soccer, field hockey and football where the current flat fields are located- between baseball fields #1 and #2;
    • Lights;
    • Walking path around perimeter of fields and park;
    • Expanded parking;
    • Renovated comfort station/concession/storage building
  • A third field, including a combination multi-purpose field and a baseball field where Quarry #1 is located was proposed, but considered for a future phase due to cost.
  • The rough budget is $2.7 million:
    • $700,000 from the Hamilton Crossings development
    • $2 million from ??
  • Primary partner/users could be LMYA, but the Township would rent the fields as well, including to:
    • School District for after school use
    • Elite/select/tournament teams
    • Tournaments
  • Project could be part of a larger project involving purchase of the adjacent Muse Tract for development of a sports complex; (This is something I support as this would take developable property off the market while also compensating the landowner. This parcel is currently zoned Ag-Protected.)
  • Hoped for benefit from this development is to move some uses from smaller neighborhood parks to one regional park at Quarry.
At this point I have many questions. Again, remember this is a concept plan. How do we pay for this? What do residents think? What is LMYA’s position? What we know now is we have 700,000 of developer recreation fees. This money must be used for recreation. I think this is a good way to spend it. We have a robust youth sports program in LMYA. Survey after survey shows residents desire for park facilities. This being the case, there are long term cost and benefits of field turf & lights. Mainly, this revolves around being able to use the field after dark and also not having to rotate the fields. The concept plan is a good idea. BUT….The million dollar question of course is how do we pay for the rest of this?

The other big note for tonight is that Bruce Fosselman our township manager will present the first draft of the 2015 preliminary budget This is step one in a LONG budget process that will take us from now until the end of the year. Step one is presentation of the managers proposed budget. From now until the end the budget will be scrutinized at a series of budget workshops. . I will post the budget workshop dates ASAP.