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Upper Macungie gets state grants to fix Fogelsville Dam

By Tom De Martini, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 05 2013 11:09:24 PM CST
Upper Macungie Supervisors
UPPER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa -

The Fogelsville Dam, which sits along Hassadahl Road off Route 100 at Fogelsville Dam Park, has been a thorn in the side of township supervisors in recent years.

The state Department of Environmental Protection placed the Fogelsville Dam on its "high hazard" list about seven years ago and informed Upper Macungie officials they needed to either fix the crumbling structure or breach it.

That became a vexing financial problem for the township to solve. Breaching the 13 foot tall and 12 foot wide dam could have cost more than $2 million, because it supports part of Hassadahl Road.

However, grants recently secured from the DEP along with matching money from Upper Macungie Township will fund a fix that should be completed by June, according to engineers from Keystone Consulting Engineers.

Two DEP grants totaling more than $140,000 and $55,200 of township money will be utilized to lower the dam by six feet and restore the stream, according Scott Stenroos of Keystone Consulting Engineers.

"This is the least expensive way to get the dam off the high hazard classification," Stenroos said, following Thursday night's Upper Macungie Supervisors meeting. "The work will lower the dam by six feet. The water will pass through the dam and it will be able to flush itself."

The dam was built in the early 1900s by the Portland Cement Co., who eventually turned it over to Lehigh County. The county gave the dam to Upper Macungie Township about 12 years ago.

Stenroos said the bids for the work will go out immediately and that remediation work should be completed by June.

In other business, supervisors unanimously passed the township's 2014 operating budget. The $14.178 million budget is an approximate 1 percent increase over this year's spending plan and holds the line on real estate taxes.

The .64 millage rate means that a homeowner with a property assessed at $100,000 will pay $64 in real estate taxes. Treasurer Barry Moyer said the township cut down on expenses and isn't making any major purchases.

Thursday's meeting marked the end of the tenure of Edward Earley as chairman of the township's board of supervisors. Earley was defeated in May's Republican primary by Jim Brunell.

Brunell again prevailed over Earley, who ran a November write-in campaign against Democratic challenger Chris Casey.

Earley served as an Upper Macungie supervisor for 11 years. He was first appointed to the board in 2002 to fill a vacancy. Earley was elected to a four-year term in 2004, and in 2008 he was re-elected to a six-year term. He received a standing ovation from fellow supervisors, township officials and members of the public as the meeting adjourned.