During the public comment section of the May 3rd meeting of Conshohocken’s Borough Council a resident of Maple Street, Jamison Cinaglia, asked about the recent decision to add playground equipment to the 2nd Avenue Meadows. He stated he was representing a group of the neighbors. The meadows is a park owned by the Borough that has been used as open space until a move last month create e a dog park at the location of the current Haines Salvati Park off West Elm Street. The new playground equipment meant for Haines Salvati was re-allocated to the meadows to make way for the dog park.
Cinaglia’s question’s centered around the lack of neighborhood input on the decision about the change to the meadows and the lack of notice on the construction commencing. Having observed the local government since 2009, this is one of the quickest decision we ever saw the Borough make. It was brought up once at a public meeting and then moved forward very quickly. When Cinaglia asked how to find out about this type of stuff before it happens, Borough Council President Ike Griffin (D, Ward 2), told him to read the website.
Concerns brought up by Cinaglia were parking (it is already tight and people driving to the park may take up precious spaces) and use of the park after hours by teenagers. Members of Borough Council, mostly Karen Tutino (D, Ward 1), whose ward is where the meadows is situated, and Colleen Leonard (D, Ward 6), stated that most people walk to their nearest park and that they would ask the police to enhance patrols of the meadows if after hours use becomes an issue.
On the question of notification before construction, Cinaglia mentioned that PECO and Aqua both send notifications to nearby residents via mail prior to it commencing construction or repairs. Cinaglia stated that the Borough should do the same. We think most members of Borough Council agreed with this. The Borough isn’t required to do this.
Through the new website, a future app, social media and email notifications, the Borough has gotten a lot better over the past year in its communication to the public. What appears that still needs to be addressed is what should be communicated and how far in advance (whether required or not). Borough Council is also always talking about senior citizens, and they are the least likely to use any of the above listed methods of communication, so relying solely on online communication isn’t at this point going to reach everyone.