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Looking west on the Mary Yardley footbridge. (BucksLocalNews.com photo)

YARDLEY BOROUGH >> Yardley Borough will use a low interest line of credit from the First National Bank of Newtown to provide cash flow for three major capital projects.

In a unanimous vote on July 20, borough council agreed to draw down an additional $200,000 from its $500,000 line of credit to help fund the purchase of the former PECO substation lot, the construction of the new Mary Yardley Footbridge and for phase two of the North Main Street sidewalk project.

At the recommendation of the council’s general government committee, chaired by Caroline Thompson, the borough will use $55,000 toward the purchase of the PECO lot, $80,000 to fund a deficit in the Mary Yardley Footbridge project and $115,000 toward the sidewalk project as matching grant funds.

In the meantime, the borough will be pursuing grant opportunities to reimburse each of the expenditures.

The council voted last July to adopt a borrowing ordinance establishing the line of credit for up to $500,000 at an historically low interest rate of 1.7 percent. As part of the agreement it was required to make an initial draw of $50,000.

To date, the council has drawn down $250,000 from the line of credit, which Thompson said will assist with cash flow as all three projects are coming to fruition at about the same time.

“I applaud the general government committee for thinking ahead and getting the line of credit because this is how it should done,” said Councilman Uri Feiner. “The line of credit is extremely low interest and it’s allowing us to do these larger capital projects and deal with the cash flow. When you look at the fact that we’ve been hitting home runs with grants thanks to Matt Ross and (borough engineer) Liz Colletti, the whole machine is working. I totally support these smart moves and sound fiscal management.”

The council anticipates going out for bid for the Mary Yardley Footbridge replacement project in August. The project will include replacement of the existing wooden span with a long-lasting, prefabricated site-sensitive metal bridge that will be built off site and then lifted into place by a crane.

The PECO property is located adjacent to the Delaware Canal and the Mary Yardley Footbridge in the borough’s Rivermawr section. PECO has offered to sell the former substation property to the borough for $55,000, the 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.

It’s preservation is also expected to have a positive impact on the borough’s CRS rating, which translates to lower federal flood insurance premiums for borough residents.

The funding for the North Main Street sidewalk project would be used as matching grant dollars for the second phase of the project. The second phase will extend the walkway from Wayfaring Drive north to the Mary Yardley Footbridge easement. Construction is expected in September or October.

In other business, council approved a resolution supporting House Bill 606, which would allow municipal police the use of radar as a speed control device. Currently in Pennsylvania only the State Police are permitted to use radar.

“Is there any belief of this actually happening this time,” asked a skeptical Councilman Feiner, referring to failed attempts in the past to win passage of the legislation.

“It gets closer and closer every time so I think the hope is that one of these years we will finally get it through,” said Council President David Bria.

Feiner said the process that local police currently use now to check speed is “difficult and dangerous for them to do it. I hope that this passes, but I guess we can’t control what happens in Harrisburg.”

Councilwoman Thompson encouraged council not only to send copies of the resolution to State Rep. Perry Warren and State Senator Steve Santarsiero, but also to make personal phone calls and to send emails supporting the legislation.

Bria also encouraged the public to show its support via phone calls and e-mails to their state lawmakers.

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