Bucks County Herald

Tinicum wants its elementary school to stay

Tinicum wants its elementary school to stay Negative reaction to Palisades School District proposal

CLIFF LEBOWITZ

Tinicum Township supervisors like their elementary school, and would not want to see it closed by the Palisades School District in response to declining district enrollments.

Comments were made in response to an appearance at the March 7 public board of supervisors meeting by school board President James Hallowell, an Ottsville resident whose region as a board member includes Tinicum and Bridgeton. The district already closed separate elementary schools for Bridgeton and Nockamixon years ago.

Hallowell reported on the March 1 meeting of the board’s ad hoc committee, that has been convened to study the district’s declining enrollment, gather information on projected enrollment, and consider closing an elementary school building as a response.

When the committee was formed last December, the Hallowell pointed out that no such closing would occur until the 2018-19 school year at the earliest, and that projected enrollments might be significantly informed by housing development plans in district townships.

About three years ago, during a routine school district status report by its superintendent and communications director, supervisors pointedly asked about declining enrollment and possible consequences for building use. But this time, supervisors were not concerned about Hallowell’s estimate that district school buildings were currently operating at about one-half to two-thirds capacity.

“We feel strongly that the school is wonderful and great for the community,” summarized Supervisor Chair Vincent Dotti. “We would like to see it remain.”

While there have been rumors in recent years about new housing development in Tinicum, township zoning and planning consultant Tracy Tackett stated that there are presently no active applications for subdivisions or land development. Dotti added that according to the township’s Comprehensive Plan, he expects development to be “quiet.”

Hearing from Hallowell that another district township had told the ad hoc committee that it didn’t expect any new development for 20 years, Supervisor Rich Rosamilia questioned how it would know that.

Also at the March 7 meeting, supervisors passed a resolution opposing the construction of any alternate route of the proposed PennEast gas pipeline through Tinicum Township. The resolution is to be sent to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and a variety of state officials.

Among a variety of concerns, it noted the potential safety risk to residents, and especially that the township’s “fire and emergency rescue companies are volunteer organizations who are not trained or equipped to handle emergencies and accidents that may arise from the construction or operation.”

It concluded such a project “may negatively affect Tinicum Township’s tax ratables, natural environment, and the health, safety, welfare, and quality of life of residents.”

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