P & J’s Pizza on E. High St not handicapped accessible

A good friend of mine who live on N. Spruce St enjoys a nice pizza now and again especially from P & J’s on E. High, since it’s right down the street. Over the years his handicap has worsened and this past year he has been stuck in a wheel chair with little hope of recovery. He has pointed out to me the different places he is unable to get into around town now. The biggest complaint he has is that now he can no longer go to P & J’s pizza because he is unable to get up the three steps in the front of the building AND the rear entrance has one step as well. The rear entrance of the building has been described as “for staff only”. When asked about why handicapped people can’t get into P & J’s, one employee has been quoted as saying, “it’s been like this for years, why do we need to change things now?”. As he put’s it, “we have been grandfathered in”. How true this “grandfather clause” is, I don’t know. What I do know is my friend can no longer go to P & J’s because handicapped people can’t get into the building. Mr. Williams is quick to point out that they are not the only inaccessible building in Etown, just that P & J’s pizza is the one that disturbs him the most b/c he has been a loyal customer for years and when a family member asked them about it, their response was very cold and unforgiving. It was “like they didn’t care”.

Bear Creek of coarse

I wonder why the School Board has not considrered using the District owned land that extends to and over the present fair grounds. The land could be developed saving millions of $ for the tax payers. Most all problems associated with Bear Creek that are recorded on this site would be aleviated. Unless I am missing something it seems to be a no brainer. I wonder if common sense sometimes prevails with the decision makers. Perhaps they would prefer to save the fair grounds that are used one week a year when the educational processof our children demsnds 9 months a year. I would hope that it has been considered and if so I would like to hear the rationale passing it up in favor of Bear Creek. Interesting for sure!!!!!!!!!

School Board Must Reconsider Plans

I for one am glad that I spotted the editorial for the school project in the Sunday news. I carefully read over the information, and assumed that the school district would have no problem defending their position in the Faq’s. It turns out that the Residents and Borough Council did their homework, while the school district gets an incomplete.
I think it’s a powerful statement when the Borough Council expresses serious reservations about the project and asks for a delay to study it further. Mount Joy Township also agrees that this has merit. The school district does not mention many important factors that needed to be considered when choosing the location, including walking, smart growth, and conformance with Lancaster County planning. Thankfully we have residents and elected local officials willing to consider all of the options.
The school district probably feels empowered to make this school decision on their own, but let’s all agree that input from the municipalities is vital to getting this large scale project correct. The school district clearly rushed this and headed down the wrong path by not consulting others before the project got to this stage. Delaying the project may initially cost the school district money for modular units if they are needed to alleviate the stated crush, but these costs will pale in comparison to the millions of dollars needed to duplicate infrastructure unnecessarily. The school district did not adequately explain why the land to the east of East High or the fairgrounds cannot be used. Stating that they need this land for future sports fields is dubious. Are they planning to invent high school sports that currently do not exist, and do Sports fields need the amenities that are afforded by co-locating the new school with the existing facilities? If the fields are needed, put the sports fields on the Bear Creek property, and the school on High Street.
The school board needs to read this posted information carefully, and recognize that they are elected officials that must listen to the public. School board members are to be accessible to their district residents and accountable for the performance of the district’s schools. They also serve as the community’s watchdog, ensuring that tax dollars are spent wisely on education.

Please reconsider. If you think I am making this up, please read the PA association of School boards web site. It is ok to admit that this plan may not be carefully thought through, and that the municipalities and residents have good points. Answering to these concerns and the letters from the township and borough cannot be done by posting Faq’s. Step up and do the right thing, and delay this project so it can be done correctly.


How The Bear Creek School Will Affect You

Concerned citizens from the Mt. Joy Township and Elizabethtown Borough are in favor of a more practical location for the proposed Elizabethtown Area School District Intermediate (Grade 4-6) Elementary School (Bear Creek).  We are calling attention to all those who live in the Elizabethtown Area School District, especially those who have young pre-school or grade school children who will attend this school, to learn more about the proposed plan and proposed site for the school

The proposed site is in a relatively remote area to be located on limited acreage at Sheaffer Road between Ridge Road and Spring Road.  All traffic will run into Sheaffer Road which is a very narrow and winding road with no access from High Street.  In addition to Sheaffer Road, the following list of roads will experience increase in car and school bus traffic: Spring Road, Groff Avenue, Ridge Road, Campus Road, College Avenue, Chestnut Street, and Mt. Joy Street.  All you need to do is to take a ride around these local roads to understand the difficulty of negotiating the increased traffic of buses and cars during school hours and during events, especially when Elizabethtown College is in session.  The roads are not adequate for the traffic this school would create (with the projected 1100 students who will attend).

The proposed school building is designed for expansion, if needed, however there is no space for overflow parking expansion.  As it seems, there is minimal space for overflow parking in the present plan for school events.  It is apparent there can be no overflow parking on Sheaffer Road or on adjoining properties. Furthermore, cars will line up to pick drop off and pick up students, blocking Sheaffer Road.

This remote location necessitates that no student will be able to walk to school.  It was stated in the proposal that all students will be transported by bus to school.    By contrast, other districts in the county are encouraging safe “Walk to School” programs, including a new elementary school which was recently built in Lititz and one which is proposed for Ephrata.  This proposed non-walking site (there are no sidewalks in this area) conflicts with Smart Growth goals of the Borough, Township, and of Lancaster County.  www.coalitionforsmartgrowth.org  Imagine how many parents, staff vehicles, buses, and fuel it would require to transport 1100 children to school and activities every day.  Students who currently walk to Grades 4-5 at Bainbridge, East High, Rheems, and Mill Road will instead spend several hours a week riding a bus to school.  By proposing a “non walker” school, the district may lose eligibility for various grant programs to help offset costs.

The site is located in a remote area from the other Elizabethtown Area School campuses.   The proposed school will not have the ability to efficiently share existing facilities such as playing fields, support staff, parking, school signals, traffic enforcement, food services, or the SRO officer, etc.  Imagine fire and emergency access.  It only seems likely that the taxpayers will be required to fund the costs to replicate these facilities. 

In addition to the $29 million dollars to build the school, Mount Joy Township and Elizabethtown Borough will most likely have to invest many millions more for upgrades to roads, sidewalks, and traffic signals. The proposed school plan does not include the cost for upgrading the existing elementary schools, that is, Phases II, III, and IV planned by the school district.  Though district administrators have not released figures for these phases, the costs, again, will most likely add an even greater future tax burden on the citizens. 

Official Comments and Questions will be accepted by the ACT 34 Government Required Process until June 1, 2008 (postmark date or email date).  Your questions and comments must be submitted to the School District Secretary by mail or email.  The secretary name and address or email address can be found on the public district website  www.etownschools.org. 

The school is still in the proposal phase.  Ground breaking has not been approved.  Your tax dollars will be used and your children will be attending this school, so please learn more about where it is and what it will cost you. 

Please click on the editorial Tab on this site to see previous important posts on this topic.




Still Time to Correct Poor School Planning

As many long term Elizabethtown Area residents are aware, regional planning has been an issue as municipalities, school districts, and others struggled to communicate and cooperate.  That is all about to change since Northwest Lancaster County neighbors will discuss regional planning on May 22.

Residents of the northwest region of Lancaster County are invited to discuss a regional partnership at 7 p.m. May 22 at Elizabethtown Area Middle School, 600 E. High St.

The regional partners are Elizabethtown Borough, Conoy, Mount Joy and West Donegal townships. They seek new opportunities for partnership, growth and prosperity through the development and implementation of a regional strategic plan.

Take a look at two scenarios involving regional planning, and see how regional planning can help the process.

Scenario #1
The School District has plans to turn East High Elementary school into an intermediate school.  Within a span of 6-8 months, they rapidly develop a plan to put the school in a remote, walker inaccessible location.   The location causes problems because the roads and intersections cannot adequately support the traffic, and is a duplication of services that exist elsewhere in the borough.  They develop the plan, and publish the construction schedule.  Then they present this plan to the Mount Joy Township Planning Commission and ask for public comment.  By law, they hold the Act 34 hearing, and once again ask for public comment.  The Public and Elizabethtown Borough have serious concerns about the plan and location, but the school district is apparently too far along in the construction development process to react to these concerns.  At this point, they probably feel that any location change equates to a delay in their projected opening of the school.  So, in essence, the School District took it upon itself to decide what plan is best for the four municipalities and taxpayers.  The result is that little or nothing will be done to the roads and intersections, and they will slowly need to be fixed at taxpayer expense after the problems arise.  Also because of the plan, the school in the land locked and isolated location will be hampered for years to come.

Scenario #2
The school district recognizes that an Intermediate school serving the entire district will impact the entire region.  They ask the Municipalities though the planning process for input on the best place to locate the school that will minimize traffic, and lessen the impact and requirements to improve roads.  Not everyone will agree on the location or the plan, but everyone will have a chance to make their points, and in the end, through compromise and logic, the best location will be chosen for the school.  This process would ultimately pick a location that has suitable and sustainable roads and intersections, and serves the school’s purposes.  This process will also consider conformance with Smart Growth goals of the Borough, Township and Lancaster County.  Everybody ultimately benefits in this cooperative scenario, and we all achieve the goal of Smart Growth that serves the needs of the community and school at the same time. 

The School has not yet cleared the Mount Joy Township Planning commission approval process, and the ACT 34 process allows for public comment.  This proposed school project needs to be discussed at the May 22nd planning meeting, and a sixty (60) to ninety (90) day hold on pursuing the Bear Creek Intermediate School must be considered in order to explore alternatives with the community.  The concerns raised so far with regard to transportation and walkability warrant a more detailed review.

As citizens, you are being asked to attend this meeting.

Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania Citizen Journalism