By Garret Roberts
Crafton’s Independence Day celebrations will take place on a reduced scale this year, without a military parade.
After scrapping the event altogether in 2020 because of the coronavirus, some council members were at odds as to how to move forward this summer during a May 27 public meeting.
As restrictions are being lifted statewide, councilman John Oliverio introduced the events the Crafton Recreation Board began planning for this event after the cancellation of the Memorial Day festivities.
This year will see visiting food trucks, a live band performance, visiting nonprofits with additional events and a firework display at night.
“Some of the other details are still being ironed out by the recreation board,” said Oliverio.
“There will be an Independence Day celebration and things will be going on, potentially even more than I mentioned.”
One area of debate arose over the possibility of a parade, which the council asked the board to investigate during the last meeting.
After the borough looked into the possibility of hosting the parade in 2021, the recreation board decided that the tradition could not happen this year.
“The comments around the parade were that given the timing and restrictions, there isn’t enough time to organize it within a month’s time period,” said Oliverio.
Oliverio went on to explain that costs for the parade also went into the board's decision.
Amendola countered by citing conversations he had with the event’s previous organizers, the Crafton Celebrates Committee. According to Amendola, these former members advocated that a parade could be organized in the time before Independence Day.
“I was at that first celebration in 1976 in the park, and Crafton Celebrates has been running that since,” said Amendola.
“This is 2021, what has happened to our Celebrates Committee?”
Amendola then asked where the money that the Celebrates Committee had been allocated in the budget had gone. Councilwoman Coletta Perry explained that those in the Celebrates Committee had resigned from their positions, so their funds are accounted for in the general budget.
“The finances for Celebrates have for a number of years been handled by the borough and there is an accounting,” said Perry. “You can go back to the last time we had Celebrates, there are financial statements and packets that show inflows and outflows.”
Defending the board's decision, councilman Oliverio said that not everyone in the borough could be contacted for input on a parade. Instead, the borough will do the best it can for the community and offer as much as possible.
“I’m very excited about it and I feel that there has been a lot of work done already and I want to acknowledge that, because it’s very important and we are getting back to normal,” said Oliverio.
The topic of a parade will be readdressed in 2022. Additionally, citizens wishing to share their input on the recreation board decisions can attend their public meetings.
In other news:
• Crafton is now accepting letters of interest for positions on the Steering Committee for the Parks and Recreation Master Site Plan Project. Three residents will form the committee to assist in planning for active and passive recreation throughout the borough. The council asks those interested to send letters to the Interim Borough Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org) by June 16.
• Council approved a motion to award the Woodlawn and Fountain Storm Sewer Separation project to Independent Enterprises, Inc. for their bid of $1,217,210. In an effort to reduce overflows of storm water, the borough will separate the combined sewers along Fountain, Promenade and Woodlawn streets. Once the new drains are installed, the affected roadways will be restored with new paving, curbs and sidewalks. The only member to vote against the motion was councilman Amendola, who voiced concerns over replacing sidewalks without the homeowners’ knowledge.
• Crafton Council is expected to hear a committee report on the possibility of hybrid meetings in the first week of June. Under the new plan, the council would meet in their chambers with citizens able to attend the meetings either in person or online via Zoom. The plans were proposed after an increase in attendance during the online meetings caused by COVID-19.