Maintaining security is of utmost importance when it comes to government buildings, which is why the Borough of Fountain Hill hopes to beef up theirs, with the help of a $400,000 grant for security improvements to Borough Hall.
The grant comes courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Borough Council announced at its Feb. 19 meeting. State Rep. Jeanne McNeill (D) of the 133rd legislative district was instrumental in helping the borough secure the grant, council was told.
The funds from the grant must be used by Dec. 31, 2020, but council members said they don’t believe there will be any problem putting them to use this year.
“If you noticed walking in here, we don’t have a lot of the security amenities that a lot of other municipalities and government buildings have,” said Leo Atkinson, Borough Council President.
While $400,000 figure may sound like a lot of money, council member Will Rufe pointed out that the types of security improvements that are being considered–such as steel doors–can be quite costly.
In addition to steel front doors, council also discussed upgrading the building with features such as bulletproof glass and drywall, additional security cameras, an entry system which requires the use of security badges to gain access to the building and front door handicapped access.
Council also expressed an interest in upgrading audio-visual components in the council chamber, such as a sound system for borough council meetings, if there are funds left over.
Upping the security measures at Borough Hall is a vital improvement for the borough, council members agreed.
Borough Hall currently houses six full-time employees and hosts many of the borough’s meetings, such as council, zoning, planning committee and stormwater authority meetings.
It is also where many residents make tax and fine payments, which is another reason council said it believes there is a need for increased security.
Council still has a considerable amount of work ahead of it to decide exactly how the funds will be spent. Atkinson said the borough will consult with architectural and engineering professionals to determine the best uses for the grant.
Fountain Hill Borough Hall is located at 941 Long Street, in a late 19th century textile mill that was restored and repurposed for municipal use in the early 1990s.
The building also houses the borough’s police department.
The next Fountain Hill Borough Council meeting will be held on Monday, March 2. We will continue to cover this story as more details emerge.