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Muncy Borough explores options for new hall

The Muncy Borough Council is in the early stages of finding a new borough hall to seat its operations.

The current borough hall is a historic building in a floodplain and is not accessible to disabled residents. So, the borough council is working on finding the best location for a borough hall — either through construction, expansion or renovation.

An option standing at the fore of the borough’s conversation is purchasing the Muncy Area Volunteer Fire Company’s fire hall, which it intends to sell, and renovating it.

However, Borough Council President Ed Feigle said the costs may be too high. The fire department is asking for $275,000, but Feigle anticipates renovations to make the building functional as a borough hall might push the total cost up to half a million dollars.

Feigle explained the borough has never gone into debt, and it is his preference for it not to do so.

“A lot of things have to fall just right or it doesn’t happen,” Feigle said. “I would love to have this building, but we can’t afford this building.”

Charley Hall, the borough’s new part-time manager, is a former 25-year district administrator to former state representatives Brett Feese and Garth Everett and has experience that may lead the borough toward applying for state and federal grants to help offset that cost.

“This may be the most expensive [option], but it might be the best thing to do once we find some more money,” Hall said.

Another option the borough briefly discussed was building a new building by the borough’s shed. However, the borough’s shed is just outside the borough’s boundary with Muncy Creek Township, and Muncy Borough would not be able to host public meetings at that location unless it negotiated an annexation of the property into Muncy Borough from Muncy Creek Township.

Feigle said he did not anticipate Muncy Borough moving toward annexation of that property, but said the borough council is responsible for exploring every avenue to try and minimize the costs to residents in its search for a new borough hall.

Kristin McLaughlin, a senior program analyst for community development from SEDA-COG, an organization that helps administer Community Development Block Grant funds for Lycoming County, visited the council to explain a project for the Muncy Library.

McLaughlin explained the county allocated $123,800 to improve handicap accessibility at the library. She said the project seeks to install a chairlift alongside the stair entrance to the library to make the building more accessible.

The chairlift will also be joined by a new handicap accessible restroom, McLaughlin said.

While SEDA-COG is funding the project with CDBG funds in its entirety, Muncy Borough owns the library. So, the borough council signed a subrecipient agreement allowing the project to get underway.

McLaughlin also advised the borough council to apply for CDBG funds that might assist them in making the borough’s current borough hall accessible.

In other news, after considering its options with the funding it had available, the borough council unanimously decided to mill and repave Shuttle Hill Road due to deterioration from groundwater.

It also decided to replace the curb with asphalt. Meanwhile, it is moving to also reseal Fox Hollow Circle and Wood Road.

The borough council approved Hall’s scheduling of the borough’s spring clean-up day to be April 28 for residents on the east side of main street and April 29 for residents on the west side of main street.

Hall clarified that the borough workers are specifically picking up yard debris only, such as small bundles of limbs, shrub clippings and leaves. The spring clean-up day is not an opportunity to get rid of old belongings or household waste, Hall emphasized.

The borough also announced its business association’s “Fourth Friday” June 26 from 6 to 9 p.m. The event will have social-distanced activities for children as well as a singular ice cream truck. Local businesses will also sell food.

Finally, the borough unanimously decided to grant the state Department of Transportation additional right-of-way in a vacant lot on the corner of Main Street and Water Street in exchange for $7,500.

Feigle explained PennDOT wants to move a traffic light pole further into the lot, and needs additional right-of-way to do so.

The Muncy Borough Council will next meet May 4 at 7 p.m. in the Muncy Volunteer Fire Co. fire hall.

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