Simon Schuster

BRISTOL BOROUGH >> A sprawling warehouse managed by Simon & Schuster at 2207 Radcliffe Street has been sold in a transaction worth $11,100,018.

Bristol Borough Council President Ralph DiGuiseppe made the announcement at the May 7 council meeting.

River Group Equities, the new owner of the 592,731 square foot building, plans to use the facility as a warehouse and distribution center for packaging material, corrugated boxes and tape stretch.

The transaction will mean a windfall to the borough of $55,800 in unbudgeted and unanticipated transfer taxes.

According to borough solicitor William Salerno, Simon & Schuster is expected to remain at the site until the end of June.

The one story masonry warehouse, which stretches for blocks along the northside of Radcliffe Street west of Green Street, was built in 1951.

In other borough news, Samantha Brinker of Gilmour & Associates, the borough’s contracted engineering firm, updated council on its MS4 Pollution Reduction Plan. MS4 stands for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System and is a conveyance or system of conveyances that discharge to local streams and creeks.

The five year pollution reduction plan, an unfunded mandate passed to local municipalities by the state, requires the borough to reduce sediment discharges from its roads, inlets, swales, etc., to Silver Lake and Mill Creek.

To meet the sediment reduction requirements imposed by the state, the borough’s engineer is proposing a rain garden and a vegetative swale. The rain garden would be located at the Otter Street fields and be situated in a way that avoids impacting the soccer fields.

A rain garden is a garden of native shrubs, perennials, and flowers planted in a small depression, which is generally formed on a natural slope. It is designed to temporarily hold and soak in rain water runoff that flows from roofs, driveways, patios or lawns. It also traps sediment, preventing it from reaching other waterways.

Brinker estimated construction of the swale and rain garden would cost somewhere between $100,000 and $150,000. “We are looking for grants to fund the construction, unfortunately there is no funding for all the reporting that’s required and that’s easily $5,000 to $10,000 a year,” she said.

DiGuiseppe, in comments being echoed in council chambers throughout the state, expressed frustration over another unfunded mandate being passed down from the federal and state government. “All these mandates cost taxpayers money. And there’s no way to fight these things,” he said.

Council also heard from borough property owner Mimi Olsen who voiced concern over a proposed widening of Basin Street next to the new condominiums overlooking the wharf.

As one of the new owners of the condos, she asked the borough not to pave over a small patch of green space located between the street and the condominiums in order to widen the street and to allow the developer to landscape the area with bushes, perennials and two park benches.

“We need to create something that’s going to create a good first impression and will encourage people to return. The last thing we should be doing is taking away existing greenery,” she said. “When people come to visit by land or river to the new docks, they’re expectation is to enjoy the peace, tranquility and relaxation a small riverside borough has to offer where they can escape the noise, traffic, cement and asphalt of the city. These new Basin Street townhomes are the first impression visitors arriving by boat will have of Bristol Borough. These homes are expensive, will generate tax money and should be flaunted rather than looking like an inn with a highway in front of them.”

She has started a campaign to save the green space and encourages residents to reach out to her at savetheparkbb@gmail.com.

“When I look out of this expensive home that I just purchased I thought it was going to be this beautiful setting. Now I’m going to look down to a sidewalk and asphalt. That’s not good,” she said.

According to DiGuiseppe, the borough’s engineering firm is currently working on plans to improve Basin Street and to make it safer for the public.

“It’s definitely the right thing to do,” said the council president of widening the road. “Right now, with the amount of people we’re getting down there, we need to do something.”

The concern was echoed by borough engineer Kurt Schroder who said “there’s no doubt the configuration down there is not ideal.

“We’ve seen a wonderful increase in foot traffic down there with the docks and people going down to the waterfront. We had to put stop signs in recently,” he said. “Widening the road will improve the turning movements. It’s not an ideal situation right now,” he said. “There’s no question we absolutely need to do something for the vehicular and pedestrian interactions.”

Looking ahead, at Monday night’s borough council meeting Chief Steven Henry said to mark National Police Week he’ll be presenting commendations to several officers for events that occurred in 2017. In addition, the department will be recognizing retiring canine, Kilo.

Also on Monday night, Mayor Joseph Saxton will recognize borough fire chief Herb Slack on his 50 years of service to the borough as a firefighter. He’ll be reading a proclamation honoring Slack on his milestone.

The borough has also invited the developer of the Mill Run project on Wilson Avenue to deliver an update to the community at borough council’s June work session.

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