Tuesday, November 21, 2017

'It's alive!' SPARKS Foundation brings science to life at Park Elementary School

Columbia Borough Announces Request for Proposals for River Park

Columbia Borough has announced a Request for Proposals regarding the Columbia River Park Phase III Master Site Development Plan.


The cover page reads as follows:

The Borough Council of the Borough of Columbia, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is accepting proposals for a one-time contract to perform certain professional (consulting) services work for the Borough of Columbia involving the development of a Master Site Development Plan for an approximately 10-acre expansion (Phase III)
of Columbia River Park, Columbia Borough.
Attached is information relating to
submitting a proposal including specific requirements, the organization of the proposal, proposal evaluation criteria, and the proposed contract.

Sealed proposals must be received by the Borough of Columbia at 308 Locust Street, Columbia, PA 17512, no later than January 15, 2018 at 2:00 PM EST. If mailed, the proposal should be addressed to:

Columbia River Park Advisory Committee
c/o Rebecca Secrist Denlinger
Columbia Borough
308 South Locust Street
Columbia, PA 17512

A pre-bid meeting to discuss the project scope of work will be held at 5:00 PM on December 21, 2017 at Columbia Crossing River Trails Center, 41 Walnut Street, Columbia, PA 17512.

For additional information, please contact:

Rebecca Denlinger
Rising Tide Collaborative, LLC
717-468-8222
rsd@risingtidecollaborative.com

[The full document can be accessed HERE.]

Monday, November 20, 2017

About Town

Recent pics about town . . .


 Snowflakes now line Locust. They're the new, smaller ones.

 At St. John's Lutheran.
Was it vandalism?

 Night flier

 There's somethin' happenin' here.
What it is ain't exactly clear.

 One of those rocks.

 "Gangsta" graffiti


***

 Empty cigarette cartons lining the 300 block of Avenue G

 Many cigarette cartons

 Many, many cigarette cartons

 And more cigarette cartons - all behind the Chestnut Street Turkey Hill

***

A few different views of "The Bridge"...




***


 Here's a fence across Locust Street (extended).

 Ghost signs

 Bird brains.
One seems to be landing sideways.

 Line-up

 There's another rock.

 Newly installed "security fence" along Heritage Drive.
Trees will be planted along here soon.

 The proverbial Golden Calf

Mighty tight

 Even tighter

 New porch on North 5th

 Stringing the lights

 Lunch

 UGI

 Abandoned

 Time for a chat

 Lair of the hidden gas cans in Avenue H...
Could these be the ones used to light the trashcan the other week?

 Missing

Dayflake

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Borough kicks in $70K to give troubled building a second chance

208-210 Locust Street

The troubled building at 208-210 Locust Street might be getting a new lease on life thanks to an agreement between Columbia Borough and Brookline Builders of Lancaster. Borough Council recently approved $70,000 for the Lancaster County Land Bank to assist Brookline, a historic preservation company, with restoration of the property. Brookline’s budget for the project is $232,000. According to the agreement, the company will purchase the building for the token fee of $1 with the intent of restoring the facade and performing structural repairs. Brookline will then move its sister company, Lancaster Lime Works LLC, into the building where it will use the first floor as a showroom and offices. The top two floors will be rented out as a large, single apartment. Brookline has also requested that the borough set aside two parking spaces during regular business hours for use by Lancaster Lime.

The agreement, which is subject to solicitor review, stipulates that funds provided by the borough must be repaid in entirety if the property is sold within five years of occupancy. Council President Kelly Murphy said that the Land Bank estimated the cost of an alternative plan - tearing the building down and rebuilding - to be $350,000. Borough officials agreed that no developer would be willing to invest that amount to rebuild on the property.

The building, which was thought to be in danger of collapse in 2015, was later shored up and reinforced and the facade covered in Tyvek, for a total cost to the borough of $51,911.17. The borough placed a lien on the property for that amount, which it subsequently forgave in exchange for possession from owners Sam and Cynthia Bigler of Millersville.

The backstory on the borough's acquisition of the property is HERE.

Hit and Run Investigations | Columbia Borough Police Department

Columbia Police are investigating two hit and run accidents where parked vehicles were struck.

On 11-17-17 a parked vehicle was struck in the 200 block of North Fourth Street causing damage to the driver side mirror and front fender.  Passenger side mirror parts from the suspect vehicle were found at the scene and are believed to be from a Chevy or GMC truck.

On 11-19-17 a parked vehicle was struck in the 300 block of North Seventh Street causing damage to the driver side mirror and door.

Anyone with information on either of these hit and run accidents is encouraged to contact the Columbia Police (717)684-7735 or text LANCS 847411..



https://lancaster.crimewatchpa.com/columbiapd/10552/post/hit-and-run-investigations

Myers, Sherri Ann - (1) count of Retail Theft (S) | Columbia Borough Police Department


On November 19, 2017 at approximately 11:53 am Columbia Borough Police responded to a shoplifter in custody at the Dollar General Store located at Columbia Plaza, 960 Lancaster Avenue Columbia, PA 17512. As a result, Sherri A. Myers of Marietta was arrested for attempting to steal $35.50 worth of merchandise from the retail store. She was observed by employees concealing several packs of socks and one pack of men's underwear in her handbag. She was cited and released from Police custody. All parties are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


Case Number:

21291-11-19-17


Arrest Date:

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Charges:
(1) count of Retail Theft (S)
Source: Columbia Borough Police Department


https://lancaster.crimewatchpa.com/columbiapd/10552/arrests/myers-sherri-ann-1-count-retail-theft-s

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Found property to be returned. | Columbia Borough Police Department

We have several items in our lost and found that we know who the owners are. We are unable to get in touch with the following people. If you know them please tell them to call and ask for Officer Austin Miller. 717-664-1180.

Anney C. Togneri

Karissa Lynn Spitler

Kenneth W. Story

Jason J. Rollman

Michelle Alexander


https://lancaster.crimewatchpa.com/columbiapd/10552/post/found-property-be-returned

Vehicle Accident/Hit and Run | Columbia Borough Police Department

Columbia Borough Police are investigating an overnight hit and run involving 3 parked vehicles in the 300 Blk of Linden Street.  The incident occurred in the over night hours of Friday, November 17, 2017 and discovered on Saturday morning at 6:57 am.  The suspect vehicle is a red vehicle and should have sustained moderate right front end damage to include a broken right side headlamp.  Police collected car parts at the scene and are in the process of checking part numbers and reviewing local surveillance.  One vehicle was deemed inoperable from the scene.  Anyone with information can call the Columbia Police at (717)684-7735 or text LANCS at 847411.

Case Status:

Case Type:


https://lancaster.crimewatchpa.com/columbiapd/10552/cases/vehicle-accidenthit-and-run

Friday, November 17, 2017

Second suspect arrested in Avenue G robbery - Ulmer, Trenton Anthony - (1 count) Robbery/(1 count) Conspiracy to Robbery | Columbia Borough Police Department



UPDATE FROM NOVEMBER 6, 2017 ROBBERY
On November 15, 2017 the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office certified and approved adult criminal charges on 15 year old Trenton A. Ulmer and 15 year old Savion Allen for Robbery and Criminal Conspiracy to Robbery.  Both are residents of Columbia Borough.  The incident was reported on November 6, 2017 at approximately 8:41 pm in which Ulmer and Allen followed a adult and juvenile victim from the Turkey Hill located in the 300 Blk of Chestnut Street to the 500 Blk of Ave G and "pointed a gun" at a adult and juvenile victim.  The juvenile victim was struck in the head and face.  Items and cash were taken from the victims. Initially Ulmer and Allen were charged as juveniles and taken to the Lancaster County Youth Intervention Center.  Juvenile charges were withdrawn on November 16, 2017 and refiled as adult criminal charges.  The two were transferred to the Lancaster County Prison and arraigned by MDJ Sponaugle for Robbery and Conspiracy to Robbery, both felony counts.  They were committed to the Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $250,000.00 bail.  All actors are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Case Number: 
6845-11-06-17
Arrest Date: 
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Source: 

Columbia Borough Police Department

https://lancaster.crimewatchpa.com/columbiapd/10552/arrests/ulmer-trenton-anthony-1-count-robbery1-count-conspiracy-robbery

Retail Theft at Stover's News Agency - Can you ID the suspect?


On November 17, 2017 at approximately 2:45 pm the pictured female walked into Stover's News Agency at 24 N Third Street and stole a bag of cigarette tobacco valued at $31.50. The female is described as a white female, with brown hair,  approximately 30-40 years, wearing a maroon zip up sweatshirt and blue jeans.  She walked into the store and concealed the item in her black, white and red pocket book and left the store.  She walked towards Hinkle's.  If anyone has information on her identity please call the Columbia Police at (717)684-7735 or text LANCS at 847411.

Case Type:


https://lancaster.crimewatchpa.com/columbiapd/10552/cases/retail-theft-0

Allen, Savion - (1 count) Robbery/(1 count) Conspiracy to Robbery | Columbia Borough Police Department

                           

UPDATE FROM NOVEMBER 6, 2017 ROBBERY IN WHICH A GUN WAS USED

On November 15, 2017 the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office certified and approved adult criminal charges on 15 year old Trenton A. Ulmer and 15 year old Savion Allen for Robbery and Criminal Conspiracy to Robbery.  Both are residents of Columbia Borough.  The incident was reported on November 6, 2017 at approximately 8:41 pm in which Ulmer and Allen followed a adult and juvenile victim from the Turkey Hill located in the 300 Blk of Chestnut Street to the 500 Blk of Ave G and "pointed a gun" at a adult and juvenile victim.  The juvenile victim was struck in the head and face.  Items and cash were taken from the victims. Initially Ulmer and Allen were charged as juveniles and taken to the Lancaster County Youth Intervention Center.  Juvenile charges were withdrawn on November 16, 2017 and refiled as adult criminal charges.  The two were transferred to the Lancaster County Prison and arraigned by MDJ Sponaugle for Robbery and Conspiracy to Robbery, both felony counts.  They were committed to the Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $250,000.00 bail.  All actors are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Case Number: 
6845-11-06-17
Arrest Date: 
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Source: 

Columbia Borough Police Department


https://lancaster.crimewatchpa.com/columbiapd/10552/arrests/ulmer-trenton-anthony-1-count-robbery1-count-conspiracy-robbery

2017 Traffic Warrants as of 11/17/17 | Columbia Borough Police Department

Columbia Market House to close in December, but its future is uncertain

The decision to close the market was made in the early fall, with the goal of allowing for some much-needed renovations, Pamela Williams, borough councilwoman, said. The renovations included a new paint job, new lighting and an undetermined decision for something to be done with the tapered brick floor.
MORE:
http://www.ydr.com/story/news/2017/11/10/columbia-market-house-close-december-but-its-future-up-air/849053001/

Encrypting police dispatches tested at 2 Lancaster County departments before January rollout


The controversial encryption proposed by police chiefs and ordered by commissioners this summer blocks fire agencies, emergency medical services and the public from hearing police radio communication.
MORE:
http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/encrypting-police-dispatches-tested-at-lancaster-county-departments-before-january/article_9cdf5d0c-ca43-11e7-9216-8fd7e441bbe8.html

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Borough looks at two sites for possible office relocation

Borough officials claim that the borough has outgrown its current headquarters at 308 Locust Street and operations are being hampered due to lack of space.  Two other locations are currently being considered that will allow for expansion: 200 North 5th Street and 430 Walnut Street. 

200 North 5th Street

Columbia Borough Council recently voted to commission a $12,900 feasibility study to determine the specifics of relocating the borough offices and police station. RLPS Architects, a Lancaster firm, has been tapped to undertake the study. In a proposal letter to the borough dated October 16, 2017, the company states that it will provide "professional services as indicated for a lump sum fee of $12,900 plus reimbursable expenses." The letter also states that RLPS has obtained floor plans of 200 North 5th Street and is working to obtain those of 430 Walnut. If those are not available, the firm says it will digitally scan the property for an additional $2,000 in order to prepare floor plans. Hazardous materials analysis, abatement and costing is not included.


430 Walnut Street

200 North 5th Street is currently the Columbia Borough School District Administration Center, and 430 Walnut Street, formerly home to the Lucas Manufacturing Company, is now owned by Columbia developer Don Murphy.

The borough has considered the possibility of a move for several months. A public meeting was held June 14, 2017 at Borough Hall to discuss the feasibility of consolidating the borough offices, police department and school district offices in one building - the District Administration Center - as a Columbia Borough Government Center.  The DAC now houses only school district employees and operations.

At the meeting, Mayor Leo Lutz said there is not enough room for borough operations at the municipal building. "We're constantly juggling things around," he said. Lutz said the records room was outgrown 16 years ago and now contains two offices out of necessity.

Councillor Mary Wickenheiser said the borough needs extra space due to added services: codes, clerks, etc. "There are more people working in this building," she said. Codes manager Steve Kaufhold said his department needs more space, because the borough is no longer using third-party inspectors. He said seven codes employees are now using a 12 x 12 area.

Council president Kelly Murphy said, "We're upping our game, especially with codes. We've got the whole building crammed to the max." He noted that moving to the DAC is just an option. "This is the first discussion," Murphy said. "We're looking at options." He said the borough is looking for "the most bang for the buck" and that other sites will also be considered. There is no deadline for a move yet, he said. Murphy added that if either entity (borough or school district) says no to the idea, there will not be any animosity.

Moving to the former Columbia No. 1 Fire Company building on Front Street was discussed but ultimately frowned upon due to the nearby rail lines with trains that could hinder police response time. A resident expressed disapproval about the possibility of having holding cells in the DAC. Lutz said the police department does not need to be in the same building as the borough offices.

Parking concerns for additional personnel at the DAC were discussed. Lutz asked if the borough could lease parking spaces from the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, whose building is nearby.

Lutz also said another advantage to consolidating is financial. "What can we do to help the taxpayer?" he asked. He said the project won't move forward without a funding scheme.

Don  Murphy said he is open to a move to his Walnut Street building. "I welcome the opportunity to work with the borough on the possibility of relocating to my location as I feel it would better suit their long-term needs for police, codes, and municipal government," he said in a statement provided to Columbia Spy today. 

[Information from a June 19, 2017 Columbia Spy post was incorporated into this article.]

Columbia Crossing to be closed temporarily


Columbia Market House closing Dec 23; bids to be taken for new use for circa-1869 market building

The Columbia Market House will close Dec. 23 as the borough tries to find a new use for the circa-1869 building in the center of town.

Columbia Borough, which owns the building at 15 S. 3rd St., has been operating the three-days-a-week market there but will now be soliciting bids from developers to lease the property and possibly do something else with it.

MORE:
http://lancasteronline.com/insider/columbia-market-house-closing-dec-bids-to-be-taken-for/article_7b4d00ca-ca4f-11e7-98c1-a79f4333a894.html

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Correction to Parking Ticket and Quick Ticket Payment Policy


Columbia Spy received this updated information from Columbia Borough:

Effective December 1, 2017
CORRECTION TO PREVIOUS NOTICE
Parking Tickets and Quick Tickets will no longer be accepted at the window at the Borough Office located at 308 Locust Street, Columbia Pa. All tickets must be mailed or put in the drop box located outside the Borough Office to the right of the entrance door.
Should you wish to contest a parking ticket, wait for a citation in the mail, then you may plead not guilty and request a hearing at the Magisterial District Judge's Office.
Should you wish to contest a quick ticket, submit your request in writing to the Borough Manager along with the required $100 appeal fee within 15 days of ticket date.

Draft Agenda - Columbia School Board Meeting November 16, 2017



The Murphys complete purchase of Hinkle's building in Columbia, eye doubling restaurant

Following their $770,000 purchase, Don and Becky Murphy are turning their attention to expanding the restaurant as well as reopening and enlarging the Hinkle's gift shop.
MORE:
http://lancasteronline.com/insider/buyers-complete-purchase-of-hinkle-s-building-in-columbia-eye/article_205196d8-c96c-11e7-abb7-7b550442f904.html

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Quick takeaways from Monday night's borough council meeting


Mayor Lutz said the $55 million Veterans Memorial Bridge restoration/rehabilitation project is on track for 2019. Designated bicycle lanes will be added to both sides due to an increase in bike traffic from riders using the bridge to "join" the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail with the Mason Dixon Trail.




Council voted 6-1 to provide funding in the amount of $70,000 to the Land Bank to assist "Brookline Builders" with necessary improvements that will make 208-210 Locust Street usable as a commercial space.  Brookline's sister company, a limestone/masonry enterprise, is planning a showroom at this property. (Columbia Spy has reported extensively on this property. Search "208-210" on this site.)




A resident questioning the "Street-Scape" program asked why simple fixes like the torn awning at Hotel Locust have been let go for so long.  Councilor Marilyn Kress Hartman said the awning will be repaired in about a week.




Resident Rick Fisher informed council of several criminal incidents that were reported to him, some of which were not reported to the police.  Fisher and Mayor Lutz encouraged residents to call police if they have information about any criminal incident. Fisher is the organizer of the Columbia PA Crime Watch group.


Fisher asked if he could get a list of camera locations in the borough, and the mayor replied, "No."  Later in the meeting, the mayor said the borough has "exactly 50 cameras" but "there is no list." According to him, if the borough had a list of cameras, it would be considered public property and would have to be made available through "Right-to-Know."  He said the borough does not have to create a list just to satisfy such a request.  He said no list exists because of covert cameras being used in investigations.

There was some confusion about how many cameras are located in Columbia River Park.  Columbia Spy has counted five, excluding any possible "covert" cameras. The Columbia Water Company, adjacent to the park, has additional cameras on its building's exterior.




Despite a police "Crime Watch" report stating that the victims of a recent robbery/assault claim a gun was used against them, the mayor stated that a gun was not used.




A Manor Street resident complained about tractor-trailers causing wear and tear on borough streets. He said he saw such a truck on Central Avenue, where it had no reason being.  He also reported seeing large trucks  still traveling through the heart of town at Third and Locust.  He questioned council as to why these truck drivers are not being cited by the police.  Borough officials said certain streets are controlled by the state, and the borough therefore cannot erect signage. According to officials, there have been ongoing talks with PennDot, but so far to no avail.


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