Lock Haven sidewalk cafe permits can be issued April 10

LOCK HAVEN — “What other mayors, other councils could not do, we did.”

With those words, Lock Haven Mayor William E. Baney III thanked City Council for supporting his effort to open the door to sidewalk cafes.

Cafes now are allowed in the Central Business District, and the first permits may be issued April 10.

On Monday night, Council took its second vote, the final one required, on an ordinance that allows and regulates such cafes. Only minor changes were made in some wording, as recommended by the city’s solicitor, and the ordinance passed with no discussion.

Council set the fees for the cafes, also with no discussion. The first permit will cost each restaurant $150 for the year. After that, permits may be renewed for $70 per year.

In another matter, the city will receive bids April 27 for paving on three streets: South Fairview (from Bellefonte Avenue to Peach Street), South Jones (from Maple Street to the end), and West Third (from North Highland to Barton Street).

The contract may be awarded May 1. All three projects are estimated to cost $388,309, and Community Development Block Grant funds will pay for all of that except for $61,208 from the city’s liquid fuels funds.

Councilmen Ted Forbes, Richard L. Conklin and Stephen L. Stevenson spoke of their concern that block grants may be decreased by the federal government.

“I am just appalled at the federal movement to reduce CDBG funding,” Conklin said. “We need that money here. We would be at a standstill without CDBG funds.”

The city uses those dollars for projects like paving, parks, creating handicapped-accessible curb cuts in sidewalks, Stevenson said. Without them, “we’ll be breaking even, just treading water,” he said.

The Pennsylvania Municipal League already has “started the protest wheel rolling,” he added, and Forbes urged city staff to comply with the league’s request and send examples of successful city projects that block grants have funded.

The city recently received its 2017 liquid fuels allocation from the state Department of Transportation of $260,587, a little more than originally expected.