Board debates fixing private road
PHOENIXVILLE >> In a test of its good neighbor policy, school officials in Phoenixville are debating whether to approve up to approximately $15,000 of taxpayer money to pay for a one-time paving of a private street.
Neighbors have asked the district if it would pave Gay Street between Pothouse Road and Hallowell Avenue, near the construction site of the incoming Phoenixville Early Learning Center and Manavon Elementary School. The street is in need of repair, but the district is under no obligation to pave it. The administration accepted a bid of $15,150 from Charlestown Paving to pave the roadway, leaving it to the board to decide whether it was willing to make repairs and if so, how much it would spend.
The board was split over the decision. The majority said they were willing to at least chip in a percentage of the cost if neighbors
would pay a share, considering these neighbors have been among the most affected by the construction site. However, others said taking public money to pave a private street is unfair to taxpayers who wouldn’t stand to gain anything from it.
When Meadow Brook Golf Club owned the property, the owner would take care of the street and did chip in the last time it was paved, according to Stan Johnson, executive director of operations, during the Sept. 8 school board workshop meeting.
“The previous owner was under no obligation but did it because a lot of the folks that did use his golf course came in that way,” Johnson said at the time. “So the neighbors are saying (to the) school district ‘you now own the property. Will you take care of the street?’ And that’s the question for the board.”
The district has made accommodations for other neighbors in that development in the past, board member Ken Butera said at the Sept. 8 meeting. Along with residents from Meadowbrook Lane, the Pickering Glen development, these neighbors have been among the most affected by construction.
On Thursday board member Joshua Gould suggested the district pay two-thirds of the cost, and neighbors can pay the rest. The district has made accommodations for other neighborhoods near the construction site that have been inconvenienced and “those were higher dollar amounts.”
“I think asking neighbors to cough up $5,000 is a decent deal and the district would toss in $10,000,” he said.
Butera expressed a concern about setting a precedent by approving the project, to which Gould replied that if the district were to move forward on the project it would have to be understood that this was a one-time deal.