SOUDERTON — The sidewalk at the Broad Theater has been closed to begin work on replacing it with a new streetscaped sidewalk similar to what was previously done on parts of Souderton's Main Street.
The work is in conjunction with the plans to renovate and reopen the theater, which has been closed for more than a decade.
At the Sept. 16 Souderton Borough Council work session, council member Dan Yocum asked how long the sidewalk on Washington Avenue beside the theater will be closed.
"That will remain closed for some time to come," Steve Toy, the borough's code enforcement officer, said.
The theater wall rests on the existing sidewalk, so structural work will have to be done to the building along with replacing the sidewalks, he said. The sidewalk is expected to be closed for six to eight months, he said.
A notice will be sent to Univest that employees walking from the employee parking area off Washington Avenue will now have to cross W. Broad Street on the opposite side of Washington Avenue instead of crossing on the theater side, council President Brian Goshow said.
The same applies to students walking to school. In answer to a question from Mayor John Reynolds, police Chief James Leary said the highest number of students who cross W. Broad Street at Washington Avenue is four per day. There is currently a crossing guard at the intersection; a re-evaluation of whether to continue having the crossing guard is planned for later this year.
In other matters at the meeting:
• Goshow said the borough received a letter from an attorney representing Curtis and Lisa Freed, so council could not publicly discuss the couple's request for a handicapped parking space at their home. The Freeds said at the previous week's meeting that they have been trying since February to get approval of a handicapped parking space to help make it easier for their grandson, who is in a wheelchair, to get on and off the school bus.
Council was planning to discuss the case in executive session following the Sept. 16 public meeting, Goshow said. Any further information from the borough on the case would have to come from the borough's attorney, he said.
• Borough Manager Mike Coll said he had received a letter that day from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation telling the borough to file for a permit or remove within 30 days the digital sign the borough put up last year on Main Street (Route 113).
The new sign replaced one that was previously there and had been damaged in a winter storm.
"Apparently, they were OK with the old sign that was there because we were only putting borough-related advertisements on it," Coll said."Now we are advertising businesses."
The new sign was purchased by the Souderton Business Improvement District and Souderton Borough and has both borough-related and BID businesses advertisements. Apparently it is now being considered by PennDOT as a billboard, Coll said.
Coll said he will be filing for the permit. Council members said they also will contact state representatives because the incident shows an example of the difficulties municipalities have in dealing with the state agency.