Repairs on W. Second Ave. sinkhole won’t be complete until October

By on August 29, 2018

Soaking rains, flash flooding delay restoration work

Serious sinkholes don’t suddenly occur in a single day and they typically won’t be repaired overnight.

Such is the case with problem on the 500 block of West Second Avenue, where sinkholes have opened at least three times since January 2016.

View of sinkhole damage in front of a West Second Avenue home that was temporarily repaired after the street opened on March 17.

At the July 31 meeting of Lititz Borough Council, contracts were awarded to Compact Grouting Services, Inc. and Earth Engineering, Inc. to repair the sinkhole. Council had hoped to begin work immediately but Borough Manager Sue Barry noted on Aug. 22 that “weather delayed the contractor.”

Due to the hazardous conditions, West Second Avenue has been closed to traffic, which resulted in a detour to Moravian Avenue, causing issues for Moravian Manor residents. The sinkhole in the 500 block of Second Avenue now has a targeted completion date of Oct. 1 &tstr; weather permitting, officials noted at the Aug. 28 Lititz Borough Council meeting. Officials hope the soaking summer eases after about 8.7 inches of rainfall in August which caused widespread flooding and followed a drenched July that had more than 9 inches of rain, according to wunderground.com.

The most recent sinkhole on West Second Avenue opened in March and after many months of discussion with the nearby property owners, Lititz Borough agreed last month to repair the sinkhole.
For months, Lititz officials struggled due to a threat of legal action filed by homeowners David and Amy Gerhart whose 530 W. Second Ave. property was severely damaged by sinkholes when the street opened in March.

Melvin Hess, attorney for the Gerharts, has hinted but has not yet filed litigation to force the borough to take financial responsibility for all of the sinkhole damages &tstr; not just the damaged roadway.

While the borough’s plan does not deliberately aim to repair the Gerhart’s property at 530 W. Second Ave., the method of injecting pressurized grout into the street sinkhole will likely flow into voids under the Gerhart property, officials said. Road superintendent Andy Garner reported that the rainy summer has also caused problems with other sinkholes that have opened up, including sinkholes on East Lemon Street and Kissel Hill Road. Repairs are underway for them too.

Garner is hoping rain holds off so work can be completed on those problems as quickly as possible. There have been at least two residents of Middle Lane who expressed annoyance that the roadway repaving on Middle Lane is several inches above their stone driveways. One painted his complaint on the paved road, which has been removed. The other posted a sign. Garner said that he would suggest that property owners fill in with some stone to make the driveway more even with the newly repaved alleyway.

A new patrol officer has joined the ranks of Lititz Borough Police.

Samuel Habbershon became Lititz Borough’s newest police officer at the Aug. 28 meeting of Lititz Borough Council.

At the Aug. 28 meeting of Lititz Borough Council, Samuel Habbershon was sworn in as the newest police officer by Mayor Timothy Snyder. Habbershon, 23, is a lifelong resident of Lititz and graduated from Lancaster Mennonite High School. He graduated from the police academy at Harrisburg Area Community College, and previously served as a part-time police officer in Hummelstown.

“I have always wanted to be a police officer in my hometown,” said Habbershon.

There was quite a crowd at his swearing in ceremony, including family members, girlfriend, friends, police officers and Lititz Fire Company members. They even had a cake for Habbershon, marking his appointment as a police officer. That’s because Habbershon has been a volunteer with the Lititz Fire Company since he was just 16. As fire chief Ron Oettel noted, “We’re very proud of Sam.” Habbershon will continue to serve the Lititz community as both a police officer and a volunteer firefighter. Another newcomer serving Lititz Borough is 15-year-old Eva Hain, who joined borough council as a junior council member. She was sworn into her office, as a youth representative to borough council and a non-voting member.

Hain is following in her father’s footsteps, as the daughter of Lititz Borough Council member Scott Hain and Heather Hain. The junior at Linden Hall noted that she had always been interested in what her father did as a borough council member.

“I heard there was an opening and decided to apply,” she said, with Mayor Timothy Snyder in charge of the junior council program. “I also had a friend at Linden Hall who served and I wanted to do it too.”

Representatives from Lititz Public Library attended the meeting to make their annual request for a library donation from Lititz Borough. It was the 15th and final time that library director Susan Tennant was on hand to ask for borough funding. Tennant will be retiring from her position in Spring 2019.

“I am proud that I chose this profession 42 years ago,” said Tennant, noting that the Lititz Public Library helps to provide free access to learning materials and encourages lifelong learning.
Tennant was joined by Carol Deem of the library board, who thanked Tennant for her hard work for the library. Borough council president Shane Weaver commended Tennant for her tireless efforts on behalf of the library in her career as library director.

Lititz Borough Council gave its blessing for a partial closing of Juniper Lane while brick and window repairs are made to a building at the north side of the alley behind the General Sutter Inn.
Travis Dantinne and Jeffrey Dagen of TONO Group are working on restoring the one-time factory for potential use. They asked that traffic be partly one-lane temporarily while work is underway for about eight weeks from early October to late November.

Borough council discussed the possibility of making a portion of Juniper Lane one-way from west to east during that time. Chief Nye will be looking into that, and if the temporary one-way approach works well, it could become permanent. That would mean that drivers may enter Juniper Lane from Broad Street, but not exit onto the busy street. Several activity permits were approved, including the Sept. 15 Beat Goes On Bounce Fest in Lititz Springs Park and the Venture Lititz Gala &tstr; Passport to Paris event in October. The Dec. 9 Simply Christmas and Dec. 13 Lititz Historical Foundation Annual Christmas Carol Sing were also OK’d. A handicapped parking space was approved for a resident on North Cedar Street.

Patrick Burns contributed to this story.

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the Record Express. She can be reached at lknowles21@gmail.com. 

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