Aiming to keep development, fast drivers in check
By CHRISTOPHER RUVO
Rather than strip malls and housing developments, Springfield is still a place where farms, open fields and woodlands are the norm.
Three Democrats vying for two seats on the five-person board of supervisors in the May 15 primary say preserving that rural charm is a top priority.
“We'd like to preserve as much of the rural characteristics of the area as we can,” said Peter A. Lamana, a 79-year-old retired school principal who served as a supervisor from 1996 to 2005. He thinks strictly enforcing ordinances that govern development can help.
Lamana's opponents in the primary share the same core belief when it comes to controlling growth.
“We can't stop development, but we can manage it smartly,” said Rose A. Strong, a 45-year old member of the township's historic commission and editor of the township newsletter.
Familiar with development issues from her days covering Springfield as a freelance writer for a local newspaper, Strong advocates preserving land and protecting natural resources by putting zoning in place that concentrates development — particularly the commercial kind — in the Route 309 corridor.
“We need to keep our character rural and we definitely need to protect the Cooks Creek watershed” and other natural resources, said Cindy J. McCurdy, a 48-year-old Democratic committeewoman who is on the township's open space committee and environmental advisory council.
The candidates aim to control what some residents say is rampant speeding on township roads, a problem they say will likely increase when the Sands BethWorks casino opens in Bethlehem. It's scheduled to open in 2008.
McCurdy, who previously ran for supervisor, said she'd work with police to determine the best course of action, but thinks adding speed limit signs or painting “Slow” on roadways where egregious speeding occurs could help.
Lamana suggests hiring more policemen, perhaps just part-timers, to focus on speed enforcement. Strong said striping crosswalks and putting electronic signs that show the speed limit of passing drivers could make a difference.
Strong, an administrative assistant, and McCurdy, a payroll administrator, said improving township roads is a must. McCurdy said she will work with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to ensure it fixes township roads over which it has jurisdiction. Strong seconded that, and added that she'd exert pressure on elected state officials to see the improvements are made.
Lamana said he'd like to hire a part-time code enforcement officer to enforce township rules on a grassroots level. “This person would check the junkyards to see that they're taking care of things as they're supposed to. If someone complained there were too many unlicensed cars on a property or if somebody was dumping illegally, they would investigate.”
Strong aims to bring Springfield more to the attention of its elected county, state and federal representatives, which could help in obtaining grant money and getting roads fixed, she said. “This township often gets forgotten. I want to change that,” she said.
Springfield's three-officer police department has been the source of controversy recently involving the possible dismissal of Chief Scott Huber, but the candidates said they were not familiar enough with the issue to comment.
Lamana, a grandfather of nine who lost a 2005 reelection bid, said residents encouraged him to run for supervisor. “I decided that since they had that kind of faith in me and I have the energy and interest I will do it.”
Strong said the community's “energy” motivated her to run. “I want to be part of that. I don't just want to write about it,” she said, referring to her freelance writing days.
McCurdy said, “I have a very strong interest in our township. My children are grown and I have to devote to Springfield.”
Supervisors are paid $25 per meeting.
The two Democratic winners will be on the November ballot against Republicans Hans O. Reimann, Jr. and Rob Zisko.
Christopher Ruvo can be reached (215) 538-6371 or email@example.com.
May 7, 2007 6:22 AM