Council adds new member, discusses what to do about a partially collapsed building (updated 10/9/20)

Nichole Walk
Nichole Walk

The Reynoldsville Borough Council welcomed a new member at its work session on October 7.

Following an executive session, the council appointed Nichole Walk to replace John Burkett who resigned in August.

Walk was one of four candidates considered by the borough’s vacancy board chaired by former council member Jack Matusky, who assured council that everybody was considered equally. The committee, which included Matusky, council president Bill Cebulskie and council member Mike Popson, recommended Walk.

As far as the other three candidates are concerned, Cebulskie said, “Everyone is qualified, and I hope that the others who don’t end up filling the seat are willing to run in the next election because I think we need that.”

Matusky commented that council members now and in the future need to make a commitment to be at the meetings.

“You need to be committed to make every effort to be here,” he said.

Walk lost a bid for a council seat in the 2019 municipal election but will now finish out Burkett’s term which runs through December of 2021.

Collapsed building discussion

Council held a lengthy discussion on what to do about a partially collapsed building on Main Street

On September 2, the back of the third floor roof on the building caved in during a heavy rain storm, tossing debris into the adjacent Swamp Alley and damaging the nearby Farmer’s National Bank building and blocking the bank’s drive-through mechanism in the alley. On September 3, the building was condemned, and the the owner, Jack Shuttleworth of Reynoldsville, had twenty days to come up with a plan on what to do about it. Council has yet to receive that plan.

Collapse
The Shuttleworth building on the day of the collapse.

Shuttleworth was on the meeting agenda, but he failed to show. Council did receive a letter from the engineer who inspected the building. The engineer said the alley could be opened, but it had to be closed in the event of heavy rain or snow or high winds.

Council members balked at this report, concerned about who would assume the responsibility and liability for opening and closing the alley, something the engineering firm said it would not do.

“”We can’t open that area now,” Cebulskie said.

Jack Matusky expressed his concern about the area that has been taped off around the building, stating he felt it wasn’t big enough.

“If that building should start to come down, it’s going to come across Main Street,” he said. “Who knows?”

Council also expressed concern about the air quality in the building because of mold and considerable pigeon droppings. Cebulskie also mentioned the problems caused by the closing of the drive up system at Farmer’s National Bank, which has been unable to use it since the collapse. There is the possibility the bank could take legal action against the building’s owner.

After reviewing ordinances and considerable debate, council agreed to send a registered letter to Shuttleworth giving him a week to respond with a plan for the building. Council also discussed other options, including fines.

Other business

At the recommendation of council member Ralph “Tucker” August, council approved a motion to spend $5200 to clean out Pitch Pine Run behind the Shortway building on Jackson Street to avoid a flooding problem in that area. It also discussed a recommendation from Cebulskie to hire someone to alleviate the pigeon problem in the borough at a cost of $3700. The contractor will need access to the rooftops of the affected buildings. This will be brought up again at the regular meeting on October 22.

Halloween (revised 10/9/20)

Council agreed to the Reynoldsville Community Association’s plan to hold a Halloween Parade on October 31 beginning at 3 p.m. at the Reynoldsville Ambulance building and proceeding down Main Street. Council also approved to hold Trick or Treating hours from 4 to 6 p.m. in the borough. The annual Trunk or Treat at the C.G. Johnson Elementary School has been canceled as has the annual Halloween Dance at the Bellamauro. However, Mayor Peach Caltagarone recently announced the Trunk or Treating will take place at the borough park.

Residents and Trick or Treaters are encouraged to follow the state guidelines for Covid-19 protection including the wearing of masks under the Halloween masks and social distancing. Those with candy should turn on their porch lights during that time.

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