Tuesday night saw a relatively brief, but eventful, New Hope Borough Council meeting.
The first major agenda item up for discussion was an update from a Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks representative, who said he has been working with Odette’s site developer Gateway to New Hope LLC on “finding a way to re-purpose this [Odette’s] building.”
Gateway originally wanted to bulldoze the historic 1784 structure to make way for its planned “boutique” conference center, but has reached an agreement with the Bureau of State Parks under which it will move the structure to the north end of the American Legion parking lot on New Street in New Hope within one year.
Of course, the structure will be out of historical context in that section of the Delaware Canal, but at least it’s being saved from destruction, say some. Meanwhile, state officials haven’t decided whether it’s more economical to restore only the outside of the building and construct additional administrative and exhibition space in a nearby lot, or restore the entire building to usable condition.
Either way, don’t expect to see working mule barges on the canal anytime soon.
“We haven’t yet come up with a viable operator,” said the State Parks spokesperson.
The next item considered at Tuesday’s meeting was a proposal to convert Stony Hill Road in New Hope to one direction only between West Mechanic Street and Sugan Road. That idea was promptly voted down, owing to opposition from neighbors and the post office, according to Council President Bill Scandone.
Lastly, Borough Council voted unanimously to accept the resignation of member Cliff Montgomery, effective Sept. 30, 2016. Montgomery and wife Karen will be leaving the area, creating a vacancy that will be filled by Borough Council through a somewhat vague appointment process which must take place by Oct. 30, 2016. Montgomery was voted into office in November 2013.
The only requirement for being appointed to fill the vacant position is to have been a resident of New Hope for at least one year. And being pals with a current council member or two certainly couldn’t hurt.
In fact, two names being bandied about the borough this week as potential replacements for Montgomery are former council members Ed Duffy and Nick Gialias.