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New Hope and Solebury agree on sports field use


After three years of contention, bitterness and acrimony over hiking the amount paid by New Hope to use Solebury’s athletic fields, there’s going to be peace in the valley.

The two towns have reached an agreement and the ordinance is slated for final adoption May 23 in Solebury and May 22 in the borough.

New Hope would pay $5,000 annually to Solebury under the agreement, said Solebury Supervisor Chair Mark Baum Baicker at Tuesday’s board meeting.

New Hope had been paying $1,500 a year since 2007 and balked at any increase. Solebury was paying $127,000 as its share.

“Connie Gering, New Hope Council president, and I have been working together closely to assure that our two municipalities – which in many ways make up a single community – are the best of neighbors.

In February 2018, with no new negotiations in sight, Solebury terminated the 2007 agreement and charged each non-Solebury player a $50 fee.

“Among our highest priorities was finding a resolution to the non-resident fee situation,” Baum Baicker said.

“We have reached an agreement to eliminate the non-resident sports fees for New Hope residents,” he said.

The supervisors voted unanimously to authorize the ordinance for advertisement, with May 23 as the final adoption date.

Baum Baicker said he called Connie Gering the day she was elected “and we both vowed we would fix this thing.” Previously the township had been dealing with Allison Kingsley, former New Hope Council president.

The pending agreement takes effect June 1 for an initial term of three years and will be automatically renewable for three additional terms of one year each. Either party may terminate the agreement.

Under the agreement, borough residents participating in township-sponsored recreation will pay the same registration fee as if they were township residents.

The borough’s annual $5,000 fee will be due July 1. The fee offsets the township’s expenses for maintenance of the park and recreational facilities.

New Hope also has agreed to support Solebury’s efforts to secure grants and other funding sources to finance capital improvements to township parks and other recreational facilities.

The support would include providing letters of support and committing to a portion of the mutually agreed upon local match requirements for grant applications.

In other business, the supervisors voted to apply for an $838,289 grant from the Commonwealth Financing Authority. The funds would be used to extend the walking trail from Kitchens Lane to Sugan Road under the electric lines (along the Route 202 bypass). That amount would be augmented by $143,083 (14.58 percent) in local funds, said Dennis Carney, township manager.

The board also:

– Appointed Kevin MacDonald to the Historic Architectural Review Board for a term ending Dec. 31, 2023;

– Accepted the resignation of Michael Richardson from the Aquetong Spring Advisory Committee.