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YARDLEY BOROUGH >> PECO is offering to sell its former substation lot in Rivermawr to Yardley Borough for $55,000, the borough’s appraised value of the land.

The property, now a grass-covered, vacant lot at Morgan and Fuld avenues, is located in the floodplain and is not developable. If acquired by the borough, it would be preserved as open space and could be used for community gatherings like Canal-O-Ween.

The land is located adjacent to the historic Delaware Canal State Park and next to the Mary Yardley footbridge, which is slated for replacement in August or September.

The borough reached out to PECO last December with an offer to pay $55,000 for the land provided it is successful in obtaining a grant to fund the purchase and that a phase one environmental assessment is conducted by PECO prior to any land transfer.

At the council’s July 6 meeting, borough engineer Liz Colletti announced that PECO is willing to sell the property for the appraised value.

After hearing the news, Councilman Matt Curtin asked Colletti whether the borough could purchase the property and retroactively secure grant funding to pay for the purchase.

“Most land acquisition grants operate that way,” responded Colletti in the affirmative, noting that most grant funding agencies are very much cognizant of the timing factors involving land acquisition deals.

“We don’t want to lose the opportunity at that price for such a strategic piece of property,” said Councilman Uri Feiner, who raised the idea of using a low interest line of credit available to the borough to pay for the purchase while it pursues grant opportunities.

The council’s public works committee, chaired by Matt Ross, plans to discuss the funding path and develop recommendations when it meets on July 20 beginning at 6:30 p.m. prior to the next council meeting.

“Acquiring the property has a number of benefits to the borough,” said Council President David Bria. “It’s going to help with our Community Rating System, which could translate into a reduction in flood insurance premiums. We also use it for a number of borough events from parking to Canal-O-Ween.

“There are a lot of pluses in acquiring the land,” added Bria, “and once we do it won’t be developed, which should be the case with the floodplain ordinance, but it isn’t always guaranteed.”

In other news, the council gave its engineer permission to seek grant opportunities for the third and final phase of the North Main Street Sidewalk Project.

The third phase would extend the sidewalk from 136 North Main Street northward to Dolington Road.

In the meantime, the borough is moving forward with the second phase of the project, which is now expected to break ground in September.

The second phase will extend the sidewalk from Wayfaring Lane to 136 North Main Street where it will tie into the public easement for the Mary Yardley Footbridge. A handicapped ramp would be included across from Cold Spring Avenue.

Physical construction of the project is expected to take about two weeks to complete, although survey crews would be on the scene for about a month.

Colletti also reported on the Mary Yardley Footbridge replacement project, which has been delayed by a change in the permitting process implemented by the state.

“Once we get all our permits, we will go out for bid,” Colletti told council. “We are moving as quickly as we can.”

Once the work begins, Colletti estimates it will take about three weeks to complete, beginning with the removal of the existing bridge, remediation of the site and hoisting the newly-built prefabricated span into place with a crane.

Colletti said there are no plans to dewater the canal for the project. “We would be putting in a temporary coffer dam to deal with the foundation on one side and pump the water around,” she said.

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