WATSONTOWN — A new event could become part of the July 4 festivities in Watsontown.

During this week’s Watsontown Borough Council work session, borough Manager Jay Jarrett said council learned volunteers have stepped forward and offered to facilitate a 5K race to be held as part of the annual Independence Day festivities.

He said council still has several factors to consider before granting final approval for the 5K to be held.

“If they can figure out a way to do it that doesn’t impact the other Fourth of July activities, council is OK with it,” Jarrett said.

A parade, activities in the park and fireworks have been held for years as part of the borough’s July 4 festivities.

Jarrett praised the time volunteers put in each year to organize and carry out the community’s July 4 activities.

“They do a wonderful job,” he said.

Council is also continuing to consider the possibility of erecting a skate park in the Watsontown Memorial Park.

In September, council approved moving forward with studying the feasibility of developing a skate park in the borough.

“A skate park is problematic in several ways,” Jarrett said. “We found a possible alternative.”

He noted that skate parks can be costly to build. In addition, he said problems can arise if a skate park is erected in a flood zone, such as the memorial park.

As an alternative to a skate park, Jarrett said he found a structure he described as a “pump track,” which has a base price of $31,000.

“It’s a track with hills and curves,” he said. “It’s suitable for skateboards, scooters, bikes... It’s a lot less expensive than a full-blown skate park.”

He said the structure features 125 feet of track and is portable, meaning it can be easily removed in the event of impending flooding.

“It’s an alternative that’s worth consideration,” Jarrett said. “We still need a little more information.”

Jarrett said the borough must check with its insurance company to see if insurance for the pump track would be included under current policies.

In other business, Jarrett said council learned civil proceedings may be started against the owner of a home at 720 Ash St. which was condemned in May.

Jarrett said the owner, identified last year as Suzette Young, has done nothing to clean up the property since it was condemned.

After the Watsontown Police Department received a complaint that numerous cats were living in the home, the Pennsylvania SPCA was called and removed more than one dozen cats from the property.

Watsontown Police Department Chief Rod Witherite reported in May that at least two cat carcasses were found in the house, along with mounds of feces which were several feet high.

To his knowledge, Jarrett said this week that all of the cats were removed from the property in May.

“We haven’t had any reports from neighbors about cats running around there,” he said.

Jarrett said the borough’s solicitor will be providing further updates on the next steps that must be taken regarding the property.

Potential 2020 paving projects were also discussed at the work session.

Paving Ash Street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, has been identified as a priority. In addition, Jarrett said Fourth Street needs repaved at the railroad crossing.

“We’d like to do a couple more (streets) but we’d like to wait until we get our liquid fuels allocation (from the state),” Jarrett said, noting that the work will be paid for by using liquid fuels funding.

He hopes the borough can place the projects out for bid in the spring, with the work to be completed by September.

Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email kevin@standard-journal.com.

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