At its meeting Thursday, The Hollidaysburg Borough Council examined a possible five-year plan to revitalize the borough by planting new trees and replacing dead ones.
The proposal accounts for about 25 new trees a year due to budgetary restrictions and the cost of removing old and dead trees. The borough would also provide trees to area residents, planting the tree for them at the cost of $145.
The plan, proposed by councilman Patrick Plummer, was not voted on by the council but had previously been presented to the Shade Tree Commission and discussed with borough manager Mark Schroyer.
Plummer said he would estimate that "easily 50 percent of trees" in the downtown area are dead or dying, and his plan would allow the borough to tackle this problem in chunks. Should the proposal be passed by council in the future, the borough would begin planting new trees and removing old ones in the fall of 2014, starting at the intersection of Penn and Allegheny streets. In the course of the year, the replanting would extend through the Diamond and complete the business district, according to the proposal. Penn Street would be completed in the fall of 2015.
Plummer said having new, more beautiful trees "really sells the town."
In his monthly report, Mayor Joseph Dodson said borough police officer Sgt. Rodney Estep had offered to teach officers from surrounding departments how to shoot long rifles in case the departments needed to collaborate in an emergency situation.
There would be no cost to the borough for the two lessons, Dodson said, just some of Estep's time. Council did not vote, but none of its members objected to Estep's classes.
"I think it's a good rapport to have with these other police departments," Dodson said.
A public hearing was also held as part of the monthly meeting to get any public comment on a proposed social hall project at Legion Memorial Park. The social hall will hold about 130 people and will also house two ambulances. The proposal would also upgrade the road out of the park, said Joe Keller of Keller Engineering.
The left and right turning lanes exiting the park would be combined into one single lane allowing drivers to exit either way, Keller said. He said PennDOT had indicated it would like to adjust the exit as well.
There were no concerns raised by members of the public, so the proposal will move into its next stage of approval. Council will vote on the social hall at next month's meeting.
The council also approved the needed resolutions to complete its CDBG application for 2013.
Mirror Staff Writer Paige Minemyer is at 946-7535.