The Catasauqua Borough Council opened discussions regarding the proposed purchase of the FL Smidth, Inc. property again at their meeting on Monday night. After thorough discussion from both audience members and council members, Borough Council voted to approve the proposed purchase agreement.
The purchase agreement is between the Borough of Catasauqua and Weston Catasauqua LLC/Weston Solutions, Inc. for the purchase of approximately 2.5 acres of land located on the corner of Pine Street and Front Street in the Borough. The [proposed] purchase price of the property is in excess of $920,000 with deposit of $650,000 to be paid upon Weston’s acquisition of the property. The majority of that deposit will be placed in an escrow account and be used to pay for remediation processes that need to be done to the building on the property.
Council Member Vincent Smith, who has been an avid supporter of the project from the beginning, spoke in support of the project over Council President Brian Bartholomew’s secondary option.
“The FLS Project is that… a project. It has been in motion for over three and a half years. [Mr. Bartholomew’s] idea is just that… an idea,” commented Smith. He continued by saying that Bartholomew mentioned at the Council’s last meeting that his alternative option would cost half of what the FLS Project was projected to cost. After further research and calculations, Smith stated “the numbers just don’t add up.”
Smith also discussed the urgency of the decision to be made.
“Our FLS Project is shovel ready, they will break ground next year and our fire department and police department cannot afford to wait,” said Smith. He also mentioned that if Council “did not bite at the apple tonight it will not be available later.”
The Borough’s Emergency Management Coordinator, Joseph Carl, spoke as an audience member during public comment.
“Right now we are all in danger, I am not in favor over one project over the other, but I feel that we just need to move forward,” said Carl. Carl then mentioned that the State Fire Consultant’s Report from 2004 stated that the best location for the fire station is on Front Street in the Borough, either the FLS Property or close to it.
Police Chief Doug Kish and Fire Chief Richard Hertzog voiced their concerns and opinions regarding the project in lengthy reports given to Council prior to the meeting. Both were “fully in favor of this project.”
After extensive public comment and discussion between Council Members, a roll call vote was taken to approve the proposed agreement. The agreement was passed with a 5-2 vote, with Council Member Alfred Regits and Bartholomew voting against.