March 29, 2018 — Berks County is a beautiful place, and Boyertown is an increasingly vibrant community that maintains its charm even as it makes progress with its economic development as a tourism destination.
Therefore, the concern of the leaders in that community over the possibility of an increasing number of trash trucks driving through the heart of town is justified.
Berks County Community Foundation has long been concerned that these trash trucks and their contribution to noise and traffic congestion were a huge barrier to making Boyertown a welcoming place for pedestrians. Foot traffic is key to sustaining and attracting businesses to Boyertown’s Main Street district.
Over the last two decades, several funds of Berks County Community Foundation have awarded about $1.5 million in grants to support projects in the Boyertown area by various groups, including Building a Better Boyertown and the Colebrookdale Railroad.
In addition to those investments, the BB&T Economic Growth Fund of Berks County Community Foundation was established in 2016 and has since awarded more than $1.7 million in grants and matching grants to economic development projects in Boyertown.
It would be a shame for the advances in Boyertown to be hindered by a problem that has a solution.
In a recent editorial, the Reading Eagle supported calling for a new route for the trucks thundering through Boyertown to deliver ash from a trash incinerator in Chester to the Rolling Hills Landfill in Earl Township, Berks County.
“The nonprofit Building a Better Boyertown circulated a petition calling on the Berks County commissioners to push for a new truck route, based on the theory that the county has some leverage as the state Department of Environmental Protection considers a proposed expansion of the landfill,” the editorial stated.
Actually, the petition asks the Delaware County Solid Waste Authority (the landfill’s owner) to work with the Colebrookdale Railroad to plan and develop the infrastructure required to begin moving the trash by rail.
“We believe that everyone must share in the burden of finding solutions for dealing with waste because everyone is responsible for producing waste,” the petition says. “We, therefore, do not oppose the expansion of the landfill, per se. However, we strongly believe that when the burdens of waste disposal fall disproportionally on a population, it is incumbent on those who benefit from that waste disposal to compensate those so burdened, or at the very least, take significant measures to mitigate the burdens they bear.
“The Delaware County Solid Waste facility has operated for nearly 30 years, requiring dozens of ash-bearing trucks per day to navigate their way through the community of Boyertown…
“We understand the Colebrookdale Railroad is willing and capable to assist in planning and developing the infrastructure required to transload the ash. This will remove trucks from the highways into, around, and through Boyertown’s downtown, protecting the residential quality of life and downtown business climate and mitigating the impact of the ash movement on the budding tourism economy. Additionally, this transload operation will create jobs in Boyertown.”
Berks County Community Foundation recently sent letters expressing a similar opinion to the Delaware County Solid Waste Authority, the Berks and Delaware county commissioners, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
The concerns of our friends in Boyertown must be addressed.
This situation is also a valuable reminder for all of us: The beauty that we have in Berks County is a treasure, as is the charm of places such as Boyertown. When we make decisions about the future of our home, we must consider the impact to our quality of life.
Kevin K. Murphy, President
Berks County Community Foundation