Rt. 52 roundabout gets OK, despite Gov’t. shutdown

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Bids expected to be awarded in Nov., with construction complete by Aug., 2014

By Kelli Siehl, Staff Writer, The Times

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The intersection of Wawaset and Unionville-Lenape roads and Route 52 will be converted into a roundabout in 2014. Federal officials signed off, it was announced Thursday, on plans to put the project out to bid, with an Aug. 2014 completion date expected.

POCOPSON — The wheels of government move slowly…or do they? On Monday, it appeared the township would have to wait for the federal government to reopen in order to receive final approval of the plans for the Route 52, Lenape-Unionville and Wawaset Road roundabout.

Supervisors’ Chair, Steve Conary expressed his dismay while making the announcement at Monday’s Township Board of Supervisors’ meeting, telling residents “even though the roundabout is a state project, final approval has to be received from the federal government.”

Conary explained that timing is crucial for this project because officials were hoping to impact only one school year. If the project becomes delayed by a few weeks, however, it will impact the next school year as well.

Yesterday afternoon, Conary sent out a notice, via email, that the final plans were approved, bids had already gone out and the project will be awarded in early November. According to officials, “barring any unforeseen circumstances,” the roundabout will be completed by August 2014, he said, just weeks before the start of the new school year.

Conary and Vice-Chair, Georgia Brutscher voted to accept the maintenance agreement for the roundabout planned for the intersection of the three roadways.

Supervisor Ricki Stumpo voted against the maintenance agreement. When asked by an audience member why she voted “no,” Stumpo said she does not feel the overall project is good for the township.

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8 Comments

  1. Sean C. Rafferty says:

    Dan, I am sorry but you are little misinformed. The township has pushed for a roundabout for a quite some time, and I would love to see the results of the traffic study that indicates this is the best way to resolve the problems at that intersection. Nothing changes on any Pennsylvania roadway without a traffic study being done (speed limit, stop signs, etc) There are other options that should have been explored. However, it seems like we in Pocopson always utilize the most expensive option whenever a choice exist. Why didn’t the supervisors put the Bernard House renovation issue on the ballot as a question as well? Is there fear that the residents would say NO!!! We could have practically built something from the ground up with the monies that we have spent so far. Pocopson is a small rural township with limited financial resources, and I give Ricki Stumpo a lot of credit for standing up and doing the right thing on this issue and that of the Bernard House. Ms. Stumpo is always outvoted, but she continues to fight back and do the right thing. Bravo Ricki!! Our supervisors have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the financial well being of our township. The Bernard House is nothing but a money pit, and it continues to drain the township coffers. Maybe we can sell it back to the County for a $1? Another concern is that our .02% earned income tax will most certainly be raised in the not so distant future. The Bernard House numbers demand that more resources be acquired by the township to pay for this spending frenzy which is code for a tax increase. If the citizens in Pocopson are against a liberal spending agenda, then the supervisors should follow that request. This fall we need to elect someone who will help us eliminate the tax, not expand it.

    This is not meant to be an attack on any of our supervisors because all of them are dedicated and work very hard. My disagreement with two of them is over spending, not personalities or professionalism. I’ve know all three of them for years and their dedication is not even a question in my mind. I just respectfully disagree with spending money that we don’t have to spend.

    In closing, only 17% of the federal government is actually shut down. Therefore, the wasteful spending still continues and it feels like there is nothing we can do to stop it. At least in Pocopson we do have the opportunity to have an impact on how monies are spent.

  2. Dan says:

    Well said Scott. No matter how good they are, the supervisors represent us – the residents. And your objections to some of their actions should only make them balance all sides of the argument before making a decision. I still believe that the biggest mistake we all make is not to take the time to educate each other on our positions. On some of the issues you and I have discussed there are factors that we aren’t always made aware of that have to be considered – whether county, state of federal. For example, on the Barnard House – the best thing that could have happened was for the Township to sell the property and use the proceeds to build a new building. But part of the deal from the state was that the Township can’t do that – that provision was pretty much forced on them. It would take a lot of effort to communicate those to us but sometimes to get our buyin it needs to be done. Scott, thank you for the back and forth. You should keep up your efforts to challenge their actions. They do have an obligation to share the reasons for their decisions. Take care….

  3. Dan says:

    Guys, you certainly make a passionate agrument. And I’m not trying to be a shill for any of the supervisors – I don’t agree with a lot of there decisions. However, I think your disagreements on Riverside issues have clouded your perspective on other issues. I’ll be brief but I think you should look at the three issues you mentioned from a different angle.
    The 1st is the roundabout – Rt. 52 is a state road and that was going to happen regardless. The Township had only minor input and had to do what it could to limit current (and ongoing) expenses from that work. I’m not close enough to the details to know if I agree with all they did or not but they were elected to protect our interests so unless you can give a specific example to show some wrong doing I think they need to have the benefit of doubt.
    The 2nd is open space. I don’t think I’ve heard of any complaints about that issue but I imagine some one has a complaint about how it negatively affected them.
    The 3rd is the Barnard House. You seem offended by the $1 vs. $6500 difference. The actual price was $1- the extra I can only assume was what everyone has to pay to have attornies and settlement costs. Besides, the $6500 is minor compared to the total we are discussing. And the “refurbish” you mention is just a dream. That building they are in was a storage barn for eqyipment. There is no refurbish there. What you should ask is what would it cost to build a Township building from scratch. You just need to look across the Brandywine and ask what they spent.. I believe the mistake that was make – and it was a big one – was not to discuss with the residents the sorry state of the current building and the cost to replace it from scratch.
    And to wrap it up – if you feel stongly that your ideas are superior to the supervisors then you are in luck. Steve is retiring at the end of the year and the Township will be running an election to choose a new one. Scott, not trying to be a smart ass, but maybe you should run or put up a candidte who believes the way you do. The bottom line for me has been I believe that for the most part the supervisors have tried to look at the big picture and do their best for all the residents… But sometimes they do hiss me off too..

    • Scott Kirkland says:

      Dan, I don’t speak for anyone but myself and I don’t believe the disagreements Riverside has had with the Supervisors has clouded my judgment but rather caused me to look at how they treat other residents in other parts of the township. There is no reason why the residents of Red Bridge should have had to wait four years for an unsafe bridge repaired. There is no reason why they should not handle the abandoned properties but rather allow them to become a safety issue for the families that live adjacent to those properties. There is no reason why they should sit on getting the trails for the Cannon Hill residents properly documented for three years. And it is inappropriate for a supervisor to ask the public works staff to trim vines on their property when they are cleaning up hedgerow on their street in a public meeting, let alone ask for this at all. The list can go on but I am sure you understand my point and maybe understand why I said maybe they are not the best people for the job.

      For the record, I agree with you about how the roundabout does not make a lot of sense. I also agree with you that the open space referendum was good for the community. As for the Barnard House, I am not arguing or offended that it cost $1.00 vs. $6,500. My point is they are not truthful and forthcoming with the residents and at time it seems as if they are purposely misleading them when it comes to the Barnard House. For example, borrowing extra money for the open space at the last minute and dumping that money into the general fund. Then claiming they are not using the extra money borrowed for the open space to renovate the Barnard House when the money being used to renovate the Barnard House is coming from the general operating fund. In any case, I do not believe we need what their pamphlets show as the plans for the Barnard House as a township facility. According to Chester County records, we have 4,582 residents which include those in prison, the juvenile center and the Pocopson home all of which will never use the facility. Building new vs. remodeling is almost always cheaper. I have attached a link to an article in the Washington Times on the subject. Look beyond the fact they are mainly talking about houses and focus on the content of building new buildings vs. remodeling old ones especially historical ones. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/oct/25/cover-story-renovate-old-home-or-tear-it-down/?page=all

      Lastly, I am a believer in not complaining unless you are willing to do something about it. And if this was two years earlier and I did not have all the health issues that I am dealing with now which would prevent me from giving the job my all, I would throw my name in the hat and run.

  4. Pocopson Resident says:

    Scott is right! The township has over spent on a building that is not usable which is a waste of tax payer money. Dan, I suggest you check out the Facebook page “Kill the Barnard House Project”. It is a collection of board minutes, newspaper articles and resident’s comments on the Barnard House.

  5. Scott Kirkland says:

    Dan, the connection is that since I have lived in Pocopson Township the three main projects the two of them pushed were open space preservation, the Barnard House and the roundabout.

    To date they have spent over $300,000 for the Barnard house project and the building is “still unusable” as quoted by Georgia at a township meeting. According to Steve once the work goes out to bid “they are looking to spend around $800,000”. How is that being obsessed with protecting the residents’ money? The money already spent could have been spent to refurbish the existing structure which I agree is not the most luxurious township buildings. However, spending over a million dollars when all is said and done; does not align with keeping taxes as low as possible to which I to agree with you on.

    The two of them are not always honest with the residents or forthcoming about everything. For example, I sat in a township meeting where Steve stated “the township paid $1.00 for the Barnard House”, but through the “Public Right To Know Law”, according to the Township’s own financial records they spent $6,500 on the Barnard House transaction. Again a big difference in price and a misrepresentation by them to put a spin on a personal agenda of getting the residents to buy into the Barnard House Project.

    While Steve and Georgia have sat on the Board as Supervisors there have been a lot of mistakes made by the Township and times where they have not perform the duties of the office with fidelity by acting within their powers in order to ensure sound fiscal management and to secure the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Township.

    I think the residents should personally evaluate if they are the right people for the job. You know; under the Second Class Township Code it only takes a complaint in writing by five percent of the electors to have them removed from office for failing to perform their duties.

    Since I have lived in the Township they have wronged the tax payers of the Riverside Community on numerous occasion leaving us to financially have to clean up their messes and mistakes. They need to realize Riverside is made up of more than five percent of the electors of Pocopson Township.

  6. Dan says:

    Scott, I agree with you that the roundabout doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, especially when they are still having the entrance to the Home dump out onto Rt. 52. However, I don’t see the connection from that project to the Barnard House. If you look at the present Township Building you have to wonder how they made that work for so many years. Compared to other surrounding Townsip buildings it is a dump!! And I’m not sure what “political agendas” you are referring too but I admit you may know something I don’t. I do know that it has been my experience with the supervisors, especially Steve Conary, that they are obsessed with protecting the residents money – keeping Township taxes as low as possible – and I agree with that!!!

  7. Scott Kirkland says:

    It seems as though Ricki is the only supervisor that listens to the needs and wants of the residents of the township. Steve and Georgia have their own agendas and that is all they care about. In addition, look at all the problems and mistakes the township has made over the years . . . Ricki was not in office at the time. I applauded Ricki for standing up to the other two and fighting for the residents. Pocopson Township needs more supervisors like her that fight for the residents rather than furthering their own political agendas like the roundabout and the Barnard House!

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