Neighbor steps up for disabled veteran

By on August 31, 2016

Also, borough council hears how nostalgia is the ‘greatest threat to the public library’

A disabled veteran from Lititz made a plea to Lititz Borough Council on Tuesday to allow him to remove and replace a troublesome tree at his East Center  Street home.

Not only did Justin Bailey of 21 E. Center  St. get the approval of borough council to grant his request, but he got an offer from a Lititz resident who wanted to help Bailey cover the costs.

Lititz Borough’s Shade Tree Commission has a policy to provide a grant of $500 to a resident who needs to remove and replace a tree. Council told Bailey that they could not provide more than that, since it is taxpayer money.

Bailey had received an estimate from a local tree service for removal of the tree that exceeded the $500. He would have to cover the costs for a new tree and repairing the sidewalk on his own. As an Iraq War veteran on a fixed income, Bailey explained that he couldn’t afford to do that.

In an unexpected gesture, Eric Perrone of Lititz offered to personally help fund the tree project, adding $300 to the borough’s grant. Perrone said that he wanted to do it to thank the veteran for his service.

At the same time, borough council members offered Bailey several suggestions on ways to reduce the costs of removing and replanting a tree in front of his property. They suggested asking a church to help with funding or work, getting reduced estimates from another tree service, and checking with a local nursery to get a discount on a new tree.

Bailey was touched by the borough’s cooperation and Perrone’s offer to help. It was entirely different from how he began his request.

Bailey had complained about a large tree in front of his house that was dripping sap onto his yard, front steps, sidewalk, street and cars. In July, he had applied to the Shade Tree Commission to have the tree removed. He planned to replace it with a less sappy tree.

After inspecting the tree, Jennifer Lee of the commission determined that the tree did not meet the criteria for removal. It was healthy and it was not lifting the sidewalk up. His request was denied.

“I was told by someone that it was a pear tree, but I don’t really know,” Bailey said.

Borough Council President Karen Weibel said that she stopped by to take a look at the tree and suspected it was a maple, which explains all the sap.

In the meantime, Lee checked the tree again and determined that there would be enough room to replant a new tree, one without too much sap.

At one point, Bailey had questioned whether or not he was being “treated equally and fairly” by the borough.

“I am just asking for help as a disabled veteran to do what I can’t do,” said Bailey, who was ultimately shown that his service was indeed appreciated and he would be getting help.

 

The Lititz Public Library

The Lititz Public Library

 

Library funding

In other business, the Lititz Public Library made its annual presentation to borough council, requesting continued support for library services.

As Susan Tennant, Lititz Public Library director, noted, “The greatest threat to the public library is nostalgia.”

She explained her comment by telling council members that many people think of the library as being part of a bygone era, with shelves filled with only books. Instead, she noted, the library is filled with books, music, films, Internet services, ebooks, research materials and the latest technology. The library has evolved to serve the changing needs of the public for information.

Not only that, but the library is also a gathering place for the community, with programs that include story time for children, youngsters reading to dogs, reading to babies, literacy programs, genealogical research, Civil War history clubs, art association meetings, and book buddies. The library is open for 60 hours each week.

Priscilla Stoner, president of the library board, thanked the borough for its past donations, asking that Lititz would continue to support the library in its upcoming budget. In community fundraising, she planned to use a quote from Weibel in the library’s letter:

“I believe that free access to information is a hallmark of American democracy.”

Laura Knowles is a freelance reporter who covers the Lititz Borough municipal beat for the Record Express. She welcomes reader feedback at lknowles21@gmail.com.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *