Tuesday, October 5, 2021


When: September 28, 2021 Columbia Borough Council meeting

What happened: James G. McGinness, whose late father George developed the airport and business park known as the McGinness Airport property, chastised council and the public for saying that George McGinness knew about or witnessed barrels containing hazardous waste being buried on the property in the 1970s.The younger McGinness said some social media comments have mentioned the connection.

Quotable: “I’m here to refute the inaccurate, defaming comments that have been made,” McGinness said. The family has no knowledge of anything being buried, with or without hazardous waste, he said. In addition, James McGinness said after the meeting that as a youth he routinely mowed the grass on the area in question and never saw any evidence of digging. George McGinness died in 2011.

Background: McGinness’ comments come after two Columbia residents said they knew of containers sunk into the ground that may contain hazardous waste. The borough recently paid $1.495 million for about 57 acres off Manor Street with plans to develop 40 acres into an innovation and technology campus that would include a hiking trail through a nature preserve and a children’s playground.

Coming up: A borough contractor will use ground-penetrating radar equipment to search for buried materials in early November, Borough Manager Mark Stivers said after the meeting. Previous land studies revealed no abnormalities, yet the borough “will do our due diligence,” he said.

Basketball courts: International basketball player Todd O’Brien, a 2007 Garden Spot graduate, received permission from council to pursue updating basketball courts at Makle Park. Obrien, currently playing the sport in Egypt, already has refreshed courts at New Holland Community Park and is working on courts at Village Park in West Lampeter.

Quotable: “We wanted to do the project at Makle Park because building in the community means more to us than literally building an apartment complex,” O’Brien said after the meeting. “We thought that with a bit of refurbishing we could help make Makle Park one of the best basketball parks in all of Lancaster County.”

Details: Improvements slated would resurface the blacktop, paint new basketball lines, add protective padding to the metal poles and backboard edges, and install new breakaway rims.

O’Brien is a team member of the 123 Locust Street Project.

What’s next: The borough will meet at 7 p.m. Oct. 5. The meeting will be streamed on the borough’s Facebook page.

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