DEFIANCE — The Broad Top Township supervisors Tuesday evening gave the green light for the relocation of their current headquarters into the now-closed Defiance Elementary School.
The transition into the nearby structure is expected to be completed by Monday, Feb. 11, said supervisors’ Chairman Donald Hedge Jr.
The supervisors agreed to move from their current locality into the township-owned elementary school acquired from the Tussey Mountain School District more than a year ago. In addition to the relocated township offices, the municipal leaders are working closely with the Center for Community Action (CCA), hoping to transform the former school into a senior housing complex.
The supervisors said the current township center of operations is in desperate need of major renovations including a new roof and floor. The trio agreed that the move into the former school will enable the township to enhance its efforts in environmental and community improvement activities, noted Figard who said, “It’s time to move on.”
Hedge said the transition into the new headquarters has already begun with Comcast and CenturyLink now switching over the municipality’s communications system. Later this week, township maintenance personnel will continue the relocation of office furniture and other equipment into the school.
Hedge said that plans call for demolishing the existing township office followed by the construction of a 40-by-60-foot addition to the adjoining municipal maintenance garage. The township’s new headquarters will utilize former elementary school administrative offices and other available space, Hedge said.
The existing township building once served as the Catholic Church’s St. James Mission in Defiance with the corner stone of the edifice being laid in 1903. The church closed its doors in 1972 and was later acquired by Broad Top Township. Over the years, several building renovations were completed in the building, noted Hedge, who said that the time has come to relocate into new offices.
Turning to other agenda business the supervisors agreed to host a visit from state Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell, set for March 28. During the visit the DEP chief will tour various environment protection projects including acid mine drainage (AMD) remediation sites and the municipality’s multi-phase wastewater collection and treatment system.
Vickie Swope, chairperson of the advisory committee of Rails to Trails of Bedford County Inc., presented the township supervisors with a $5,000 check to be used to further Huntingdon and Broad Top Rails to Trails development and maintenance. Chairman Hedge accepted the check on behalf of the township.
In a related matter, Hedge announced that work will begin this summer on a two-mile extension of the H&BT Trail north from Riddlesburg to “Red Cut” where a picnic, historic interpretive site and at least one picnic pavilion will be erected. “Red Cut” is the location of the Sept. 1, 1909 train accident involving two H&BT steam locomotives. The accident claimed the lives of four railroad employees. Hedge said that final design work for the rail-trail extension is nearing completion.
The supervisors also approved requests from Swope to conduct two fundraisers in the rail-trail’s Tatesville/Cypher area on May 4 and Sept. 28; sanctioned the installation of mile markers along the rail-trail by volunteers associated with the Friends of Tommy Waltman organization; approved the creation of floral displays between the Cypher Bridge and Hopewell through the efforts of the Bedford County Conservation District (an Arbor Day event); and agreed to apply for funding from Recreational Equipment (REI) of Bedford to be used for the “Red Cut” project.
In his monthly report, Hedge announced that township maintenance personnel were busy for over three weeks caring for township roadways during winter’s harsh weather. The chairman also reported that the township will be selecting an engineer to prepare plans for the Cold Springs Bridge project, near the Six Mile Run American Legion Home.
Secretary Dave Thomas reported that work is continuing several acid mine drainage projects as well as ongoing on-lot sewerage treatment systems, being funded by a Community Development Block Grant.
The supervisors approved a resolution that will facilitate special recognition of retiring township employees with 27 or more years of service. The first recipient of the recognition is Ann Guyton, who has served as a township inspector at the Sandy Run Landfill for more than 27 years.
The supervisors also:
—Approved a bond request for Ken Clingerman of Everett who will utilize Longs Run Road for a nearby timber cutting project.
—Approved the donation of three desks from the Defiance Elementary building to the CCA.
—Learned that the DEP has completed two phases of a regional water feasibility study for the Six Mile Run area with the final study expected to be released in April.