The new year brings optimism and new ideas to the Borough of Quakertown as resident Christopher Goolsby presented recreational improvement ideas to council during the first meeting of 2013.

Goolsby had "a few ideas on how to make the community a better place to live," addressing council during the visitor comment period. Ideas to use solar power, solar heated bathrooms for the parks, a homeless shelter for the borough, and additional seating and repaving at the basketball courts were among the changes to the borough Goolsby would like to see.

"Could you consider having solar [powered] heat at the bathrooms to be functioning all year long?" Goolsby asked.

Adding bleachers at all park sports courts, including basketball, softball, volleyball and tennis courts, would ensure that "everybody at the park has an area to sit."

Goolsby would like to see the basketball courts repaved, more working water fountains in the parks, more bicycle racks available and a homeless shelter for the borough. Goolsby said he would like to see "the center of Quakertown more bicycle friendly."

Improvements for Main Street Park are currently being addressed through a committee, said council member Daniel Williams. "They're working on this. They are looking at redoing the state park."

Council said there are shelters for the homeless available in Bucks County, especially during code blue periods.

Borough Manager Scott McElree stated placing benches everywhere poses a problem due to acts of vandalism, and creates more for the borough to maintain.

Addressing the idea of solar panels, McElree said it costs 50% more to currently produce solar energy because the government incentives aren't there. McElree stated the borough has looked into the idea of solar panels "extensively."

"The government has reduced the cost of the renewable energy certificates (RECs); the investment dollar doesn't come back to you. To produce a megawatt of electricity through solar is about double of what the borough can buy it for."

When the incentives are better, the borough manager stated solar-powered energy could be something council considers.

Council was receptive to the improvements the resident suggested and appreciated his comments during the meeting.

Williams thanked Goolsby for his "good ideas" and stated the committee will bring them up at the next meeting, which is scheduled to occur within the month.