Coatesville hoping to avert ‘cat-astrophic’ event

 City manager: Rising feral feline population becoming problematic

By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times

Coatesville City Manager Kirby Hudson said he is fielding an increasing number of complaints about the city's rising feral cat population.

Coatesville City Manager Kirby Hudson said he is fielding an increasing number of complaints about the city’s rising feral cat population.

Coatesville City Council heard mostly good news at its Monday night meeting – with the exception of some nagging traffic issues and a looming cat-astrophe.

The latter was described by City Manager Kirby Hudson, who warned that the city “is going to be overrun” with feral cats unless action is taken. “It’s becoming a nuisance,” he said, adding that he is fielding an increasing number of complaints.

For financial reasons, the city eliminated its animal-control officer a while back, Hudson said. One option – a budget-busting one – is to contract with the Chester County SPCA for nearly $30,000 a year. Council asked Hudson to get more information on other alternatives.

Joe Nye, a representative from Clean Water Action, said his agency recently released a report that focused on the ordinances of 25 municipalities in the Brandywine Creek watershed and how the municipalities’ land use rules affect storm water runoff. Out of a possible score of 100, Coatesville received a 64, slightly above the average of 60, Nye said.

Nye said Clean Water Action would work with the city at no charge to recommend small changes, such as sloping sidewalks toward lawns and reducing pavement needs in new construction by adding compact-car parking spaces. “We’re here to help,” he said, adding that more information about the group’s initiatives can be found at www.cleanwater.org.

Fortunately for Jeannette Hurdle, city officials were extremely helpful to her when the roof of her residence blew off on Jan. 31. Hurdle, who has lived on Coates Street for more than 50 years, said she heard a rumble about 3 a.m., the house shook, and torrential rains began flooding her home. She said she called Acting Fire Chief Jim Lentz and got an immediate response.

“Two gentleman came out to help,” she said, explaining that they were able to cover the roof with a tarp. Hurdle said she also received an unsolicited call from Police Cpl. Kenneth Michels, who wanted to know if she needed anything else. “I wanted to thank the people who came to my rescue,” Hurdle told City Council, adding that now she’s trying to get her insurance company to expedite repairs.

Tim Irwin, a longtime coach who runs a tennis school, said free instruction will be offered from noon to 3 p.m. on May 11 at the 11th Avenue courts.

Tim Irwin, a longtime coach who runs a tennis school, said free instruction will be offered from noon to 3 p.m. on May 11 at the 11th Avenue courts.

John Pawlowski, a member of the city’s Community Policing Committee, said the committee has received a positive response to inquiries about returning a “point of pride” to the city – a display of veterans’ flags between First and Third Avenue. He said the group would continue to work toward answering questions about cost, which he predicted would be minimal, as well as how the flags would be affixed.

Hudson announced that a Valentine’s Day “Daddy and Daughter Dance” would take place Saturday between 5 and 7 p.m. at the Community Center. The city’s Park and Recreation Commission organized the dressed-up event –no jeans, sneakers, or t-shirts, Hudson said.

The city manager also gave council members a positive report on the nearly $2.25 million authorized in 2012 for transfer from the city’s trust fund to meet operating expenses: Not all of it was needed. Hudson said $219,371.98 was not transferred.

All that’s needed on May 11 is an interest in learning more about tennis, said Tim Irwin, owner and founder of the Coatesville Tennis School. Irwin, who coaches the Coatesville High School Girl’s Tennis Team and the Bishop Shanahan Boy’s Tennis Team, said a group of area professional instructors will converge on the 11th Avenue tennis courts from noon to 3 p.m. to serve up free lessons, Irwin said.

The no-strings-attached offer has no age restrictions, Irwin said. Tennis, anyone?

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