LebTown recently checked back with Lebanon Mayor Sherry Capello and City of Lebanon Authority Project Director Bob Sentz for updates on two projects in the city that were in the news earlier this year.

Water and gas main work has resumed on Walnut Street, project on target for Spring ’21 finish

Drivers – and their cars’ suspensions – will continue to encounter choppy conditions on the city’s busiest eastbound street through next spring. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that the project, halted over the winter and slowed by the installation of underground water and gas pipes, is again underway and on track for final repaving in the spring of 2021.

Read More: Walnut Street resurfacing bumped to 2021; more city roadwork coming

“Project #W-2-19 originally encompassed water main installation between 8th Street and 12th Street. This work area is complete,” Sentz reported. “Project #W-1-20 encompasses water main installation on Walnut Street between Lincoln Avenue and 5th Avenue. All the water main has been installed and service connections to homes are ongoing.”

“Both projects are to be completed this year in deference to the upcoming paving project in 2021,” Sentz said.

UGI has the responsibility of replacing gas mains underneath Walnut Street.

Two sections remain to be installed in the areas of 12th and 4th Streets.

UGI spokesman Joe Swope told LebTown last Thursday that “we anticipate beginning in 10 days on 4th Street with a goal to complete that part of the project about August 15. We will then move to the 12th Street part of the project and anticipate completion in mid-September. As always, that timetable can be affected by weather and other variables.”

Mayor Capello said she would like to see both sections done in August. “UGI was instructed to have the line replacements completed by August 15th, which I’m not sure they will make that date,” said Capello.

Either way, all involved anticipate that underground work will be done by the fall, leaving only repaving, and a smooth Walnut Street, on tap for next spring.

“We are currently in the process of finalizing our [Walnut Street] bid package,” the mayor said. “It is hoped to be out between September and October. The let date is still on target for Spring of 2021.”

Walnut Street property owners: curb replacement deadline is looming

The mayor added that Walnut Street curb replacements at city-owned properties have been completed, but that many private owners have not done the same, despite being given notice two years ago.

“We continue to receive calls from residents asking if COVID delayed our project. It has not. Notices regarding the project were sent out 2 years ago so property owners would have sufficient time to comply,” Capello said.

Capello said that the administration has discussed extending the deadline from August 15 to October 15 and has not made a final decision yet but “will soon.” The August 15 deadline had been requested by PennDOT so there would be adequate time for the areas to settle, said Capello.

The mayor noted how the project is more than cosmetic. “One of the issues with owners not replacing their curb involves not having a high enough curb reveal and this would allow stormwater runoff during heavy storm events to flow over the curb. This stormwater could then cause damage to their property.”

“In addition to not enough curb reveal, another reason to replace or repair curbs is because of missing or cracked curbs. These areas could also allow stormwater to enter a property and it is difficult to obtain a good seal with the new paving if the curbing is missing or cracked. Allowing water to get underneath the roadway is not good for the newly paved street.”

No developments on possible City move downtown to HACC building

HACC’s campus on Cumberland Street as pictured from above. (Will Trostel)

Negotiations between the City and Harrisburg Area Community College to purchase HACC’s building in the 700 block of Cumberland Street appear to be ongoing, with no updates available at present.

In December, City Council approved a resolution that would allow a settlement to be made on or before Jan. 1, 2021, as long as the price paid by the city does not exceed $2.2 million dollars, with other specific conditions included within the final agreement of sale. Capello stressed at the time that, in the event sufficient funding could not be raised, she would abandon the project, rather than raise taxes to pay for it.

Read More: Council greenlights HACC purchase; Capello lays out downtown vision

“The City continues to negotiate with HACC representatives and I don’t have anything new right at this moment,” said Capello.

Such a move would not only free up office space in the Lebanon Municipal Building, which the City shares with Lebanon County, but would mark a return of city government to downtown Lebanon after a six decade absence.

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Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...


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