Route 51 'Safety Center'
The Whitehall Borough base of Medical Rescue Team South Authority (MRTSA), now found on Borough Park Drive, is in the process of moving to the old Whitehall Fire Company station across from Baldwin High School along Route 51.
The old fire station sits directly next to the newest Whitehall fire station, which opened this spring.
MRTSA's soon-to-be-former Whitehall base will be used by the borough's public works department.
"The road crew will finally have more space," Councilman Philip Lahr, a former firefighter, said after a Whitehall Council meeting on Wednesday night, "which they need very badly. Now, they have two garages to store equipment in.
"The (new) firehouse (project) was a win-win thing. If you built the fire hall, it's done for the future now. You'll never have to put that kind of money in again except for trucks, which the borough does.
"Now, the old firehouse—you wouldn't want to tear it down, because it's built like a rock. That thing will never come down, and it's in really great shape. So, MRTSA can have their own garage, where they can actually (fit) two ambulances in the borough. When crews change, they will have the second ambulance to change to, which makes it a lot easier."
Whitehall's current MRTSA station has room for just one ambulance.
"They are so excited," Lahr said of MRTSA employees. "They're painting inside and fixing it all up. Some of us in the fire company look at that (area on Route 51) as being a 'safety center' now."
The Whitehall Council voted, 6-0, on Wednesday night to repave the concrete pads outside of the old Route 51 fire station at a cost of $10,785. (Councilwoman Linda J. Book was absent.)
Borough Code Coming Online
Solicitor Irving Firman informed the Whitehall Council and borough residents on Wednesday that Whitehall's code of ordinances is being updated and made easier to read.
The code is available now as hard copy at Whitehall's municipal offices, but Firman said after the meeting that borough administration is working toward making the code available on the borough's website.
Firman said that he expects that to happen sometime this summer.
The Whitehall Council also approved, 6-0 on Wednesday, the advertising of an ordinance in the borough—to be voted on for finalization at a later time—that would change the acceptable use of multiple properties found near the Weyman Road-Provost Road intersection.
If the ordinance is ultimately enacted, the properties near that intersection would all fall under the same commercial districting regulations.
Considered acceptable on those properties under what would then be a uniform C3-S commercial district would be: warehouses; self-storage facilities; professional offices; picture, art or professional studios, including photography, custom framing and hobbyist shops; and wireless communications facilities. Also acceptable would be accessory uses on those same properties.
Jack Sims, Whitehall's code enforcement officer, said on Wednesday that a prominent property in that area had operated as a junkyard—Provost Auto Wreckers—for some time since at least 1933. Sims said that the junkyard was a "non-conforming use" since that particular property was actually zoned for residential use until recently.
Businessman Tom Kesten approached the Whitehall Council in December with plans to change the junkyard into a high-end storage facility. Kesten acknowledged then that he would need the zoning changed first.
Since then, he has been leveling off the site and razing buildings to prepare the property for his storage facility.
"When it's done, we can move the 'Welcome to Whitehall' sign back," Councilman Harold Berkoben joked. "When the junkyard was there, I used to tell people it was Pittsburgh."
The properties near the Weyman-Provost intersection border Pittsburgh's Overbrook neighborhood.
Girl Scouts Grace Council
Local Girl Scouts from Troop 970 started Wednesday night's gathering by leading the borough council and the audience in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
The scouts have been meeting with Whitehall Mayor James F. Nowalk to learn more about local government.
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