Columbia Borough investing $47,000 in bid to get police department accredited | Community News

When: Columbia Borough Council meeting, Nov. 23.

What happened: The borough will spend about $47,000 over the next two years to prepare the police department for accreditation from the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission. About 136 out of 1,100 departments have received such an award.

Quotable: “This has credibility. It says we’ve been evaluated by a third party,” Borough Manager Mark Stivers said after the meeting.

More info: The borough will hire The Rodgers Group, based in New Jersey. That company already works with police departments in East and West Hempfield. The company will ensure that Columbia’s police department policies and practices meet agency requirements and will recommend best practices, such as becoming more transparent or storing weapons in the safest way possible. The process should take between 12-18 months and would help ward off legal challenges, Stivers said.

McGinness update: The borough recently received $1 million in grant money from the state for developing the property into a technology and business campus. The money will pay for infrastructure as the borough determines how to divide the property into parcels for rent or purchase. “We’re doing the work to see how much the land value will be,” Stivers said after the meeting.

Market House: Borough Council President Heather Zink wants to create an advisory committee to help the Market House draw business. “Friends of the Market House” would advise merchants as well as create events to bring people to the venue. Ideas range from live music or children’s activities.

Quotable: “People from the community would be able to help us,” Zink said.

What’s new: Andy’s Market, which provides sandwiches and other food, will leave the Market House in January because of health and staffing reasons, said Kelsey Miller, healthy communities manager at CHI St. Joseph Children’s Health, which manages the market. This will leave three open spaces for the enterprise, which switched to a Saturday-only schedule in October. “Moving to a Saturday-only market was a good move,” she said. “We’ve seen an increase in traffic on Saturdays.”

Demolition: Council members will allow 315 Locust Street project and Cimarron Construction to demolish two buildings comprising about 27,000 square feet at 307, 309 and 315 Locust to make way for a mixed-use development. The new residential/business project will include 37 apartments, ground-floor commercial businesses and 37 parking spaces.

What’s next: The borough planned an executive session Dec. 7 to discuss a police personnel matter. Council will meet at 7 p.m. Dec. 14, and the meeting will be streamed on the borough’s Facebook page.

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