At a recent meeting, State Department of Environmental Resources officials appeared duly concerned about the storm flooding as well as a likely increase in water flow from 10 local and upstream residential and industrial developments in the planning stages, Kelly said.
DER officials proposed both short- and long-term solutions, according to Kelly. They agreed to take temporary action, such as cleaning out clogged pipe spillways, he said, to reduce flow until county planners can conduct a comprehensive study of the entire watershed.
"Someone finally stood up and took notice," Kelly said. "But it's gonna take millions of dollars and years of time" to remedy the situation.
Kelly told the board he is also making headway on industrial land cleanup along the Schuylkill. Several businesses in the SEPTA corridor have been warned and recently cited for letting their properties deteriorate, he said. Some of them, facing $300-a-day fines, are starting to cut weeds and discard their rubbish and litter, he said.
"Things are coming along," he said. "They're still not right, but they're coming along."
In a conversation after the meeting, Kelly said he had confidence that a New York developer intended to clear out debris on the 10-acre tract commonly known as the Ford and Kendig property. Over a handshake, Kelly said the developer, Mark Grasso, who is part owner of the tract, promised to clean out the trash, cut the weeds and work on filling the canal, which is now a swamp.
In another matter, Kelly announced that the borough had received a $70,000 state grant for curb and sidewalk work, plus $5,000 for smoke detectors for income-eligible residents.