Water and Sewer Authority building dedicated

The Lycoming County Water and Sewer Authority dedicated its new administration building on Sunday afternoon to the memory of former board member James Reeder.

Reeder was a member of the Water and Sewer Authority board from Oct. 1994 through Feb. 2005.

The $4 million facility, 380 Old Cement Road, Montoursville, opened in March.

Daughter Pat Reeder shared a letter with the gathering that her father wrote to a friend in 1980, while he was living in Chicago, that captured his feeling for the watersheds of his homeland.

“Whenever I plan a trip home, I tell my Chicago friends I’m ‘going back to Paradise Valley’ and they know what I mean,” Reeder wrote. “In the Loyalsock Valley I found beauty, art, poetry, peace and ultimately God.”

Reeder told the gathering her father “was always very serious about his religion, but he always believed if you’re going to understand someone else you need to understand the other man’s beliefs. All of you who knew him were like his teachers.”

Reeder was an avid wildlife photographer, and five of his pictures are displayed in the building’s lobby.

“He captured life with his eye, his mind and his lens, but mostly with his heart. Today we welcome you back to Paradise Valley,” Christine Weigle, LCWSA executive director, said. “May we all learn to seek our world and experience meaning in the world around us.”

“I went through a lot when I was here,” former LCWSA executive director Chip Amer said. “I got married, had twins, caught myself on fire through all of which Jim was great and supported me.”

LCWSA board member Charley Hall read Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” that begins “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood” to thank Reeder “for choosing to take the road less traveled by.”

John Bickhart, engineering services manager, spoke about the authority’s hopes for its new facility.

“We identified a need for an administration building, to provide an appropriate and safe working environment,” he said. “This building will enable the building of an exceptional team of employees, and as technology evolves be a premier source of technological leadership. We want to be the best, the most sought-after water and sanitary service provider in Pennsylvania.”

“One of our goals with this building is to change the stigma about the water and wastewater industry,” Weigle said. “These are people who might serve you in a sewer ditch or manhole, but they are proud professionals.”