South Side gas expansion eyed for 3 streets

Three South Williamsport Borough streets were accepted Monday night by council to be the first places that UGI Penn Natural Gas expands its service in the municipality. The motion was approved 7-1.

Council agreed 5-1 to the pilot program in March. Under the agreement, UGI agreed to install gas lines while the borough agreed to dig trenches along streets.

Sylvan Drive, Grandview Place and Eckmont Avenue were selected by UGI, according to Michael D. Miller, borough administrator. He said the streets were chosen by the company based on population density.

With potential incentives from UGI, residents may have the opportunity to hook up to the gas lines at reduced fees.

Miller said he received 70 to 80 calls from interested residents who wanted natural gas service. With the strong demand, Miller said he hopes the program continues in future years.

Councilman Robert Cronin, who voted against the plan when it was brought up two months ago, also voted against it Monday. He originally opposed the idea because it would use borough labor to support the project for a small number of residents.

Cronin also said he was not happy that gas line trenching will take place on borough streets instead of on homeowner properties between sidewalks and grass areas.

“That was the idea. It wasn’t feasible,” Councilman Benjamin Landon told Cronin.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of summer, Miller added.

Representatives of the South Williamsport Lions Club also asked council to consider keeping a storage trailer at Kozer Field to house aluminum cans and building equipment for service projects. Council previously allowed the club use of the same trailer at the borough’s public works yard at Charles Street and Sylvan Dell Road, but on the condition that it be properly registered.

“We have too many things to store and not enough room,” said club member John Beattie.

Councilman Edward Weinhoffer said it would be hard for him to approve the request since the borough recently removed 26 unregistered and untitled vehicles from properties.

“What’s good for the citizens is good for social clubs,” he said.

The club’s request was approved 6-2 on the condition that it meets zoning ordinances. Weinhoffer and Richard Harris voted no.

Kristine Ottaviano, of 317 Bennardi Development Road, Armstrong Township, asked council if a privacy fence would be put up around the Steve Shannon Tire and Auto Center being constructed at Market and Hastings streets.

Although she didn’t receive an answer to her question, council President Bernard Schelb advised her to follow up with Miller.

Harris said he has every reason to believe that the business will make attempts to fit into the area.

“I spoke with Steve Shannon and he vowed to be a good neighbor,” he said.