To the editor: At the eastern part of Coal Township is a quaint little village called Berry’s. Over the years, it was the most sought after and the most neglected. It all began when the Luke Fidler Colliery dumped coal dirt at the southern part of the village.
At the southeastern part, two mines were in operation. They didn’t last long because they disregarded safety measures. There were subsidences everywhere. One even brought down a creek that cost the lives of the miners — a coal breaker next to a historical cemetery that became a dumping ground for waste from the breaker. Remains of this waste still exists in the cemetery.
The coal mining industry came to a tragic end, due to the death of the miners.
After the removal of the coal dirt banks by a power electrical company, Shamokin Area Industrial Corp. purchased the land for an industrial park, which in turn sold it to a developer from New York for $1.
In turn, the northern part of this land included an unpaved road going west of Berry Street and then in a northern direction to Route 61. The route 61 was added to the road when the developer was going to have it paved. Two street lights were installed, but are not being used as of today.
The road project came to a halt when Coal Township commissioners intervened. A section of the road is listed on a map drawn by a Coal Township engineer. Soon, three buildings were erected and occupied by stores.
This did not sit well with the Shamokin Area Industrial Corp. and Shamokin Chamber of Commerce. It also created a traffic problem on Route 61, causing Coal Township commissioners to petition PennDOT to erect a barrier with lights and a jug handle.
Instead of the barrier being erected to widen the northbound lanes, it was moved to the southbound lanes, creating a parking problem for the residents of Berry’s. Because of the dangerous situations, we were forced to move our vehicles to the unpaved road. It became a controversy because we were told that we were parking on private property.
The state introduced a program called community development block grant. This program would benefit people with low income to improve their living conditions. When my brother had his car damaged, and I attended a meeting to try to get this road reinstated under the CDBG program, our request was reviewed and approved by the coordinator.
A representative for the developer agreed with Coal Township to have this unpaved road legally turned over to Coal Township for $1. A Coal Township street and road commissioner came and measured the road, and once again for some unknown reason, it was denied by the township.
On June 6, I attended a meeting pertaining to the CDBG program to once again try to get the road behind my home paved, due to muddy conditions. Some of the commissioners had no idea what I was referring to, and others didn’t know what the meeting was for.
So to simplify the matter, I requested that the commissioners tour the area. One could hear the proverbial pin drop, so Commissioner Zalar said that he would come. As of the date of this letter, Zalar was a no-show.
Commissioner Zalar, this is what you would have seen. The road that was once mud is now full of ruts, surrounded by three to four feet of weeds. The area has buildings that are in deplorable conditions surrounded by weeds and trash.
Thankfully, Coal Township workers were spotted on Monday doing work on the road, which included removing weeds and filling in ruts. We were thankful to see the progress being made and the attention being given to the problem.
A dirty road that goes from Coal Run to Fidler’s Green was mentioned in Sound Off as the only dirty road in Coal Township. This letter indicates that there are two roads and we have a map to prove it.
John and Mary Sabotchick,