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Lehigh County wants to spend $105 million on capital projects in the next 5 years. Here’s where the money could go

Lehigh County will prioritize the renovations of Cedarbrook nursing home and preservation of farmland as part of its spending for the next five years.
That spending, as outlined in the 2024-2028 capital plan for Lehigh County, calls for nearly $105 million to go toward local projects.
The most key of these projects, according to county documentation, include the second phase of renovations for the Cedarbrook Senior Care and Rehabilitation in South Whitehall Township at over $48 million; preserving an additional 2,000 acres of farmland at roughly $11 million; upgrades for the Lehigh County Jail at nearly $1.3 million; and upgrading local bridges, at $9.8 million.
“This helps us budget plan for the next five years of all the different things that we need to look at, and what we need to purchase or to fix or to change,” Commissioner Jeffrey Dutt said during Wednesday night’s commissioner’s meeting. “Thank you to everybody that was involved in this, and I look forward to moving this forward.”
The second phase of Cedarbrook renovations would include:

Reducing the number of beds per room
Installing resident room bathroom facilities
Renovations to mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, including adjusting the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system to better protect against the spread of infections.

It’s expected to finish in 2029.
Some of the changes to the jail include replacing cell doors in special housing units so that the people imprisoned can’t throw things out the door window and replacing normal windows for security purposes.

Other expenditures would include upgrading the county’s older 911 radio system to a digital radio network with better coverage, as well as maintenance for Coca Cola Park and the county’s IT system.

While approving the capital plan wouldn’t result in a financial obligation from the county, projects must appear on the capital plan before becoming eligible to be included in an annual budget.
No one made any comments on the plan during its public hearing leading up to the full board meeting. Aside from Dutt’s comments, attendees didn’t make any major comments during the board meeting.
The meeting included only an initial reading for the plan, meaning commissioners will have to consider it again at a subsequent meeting before taking official action.
In other meeting news, attorney Ed Angelo called for the creation of an oversight board for the Lehigh County Jail to allow greater transparency for the public, adding the oversight board should include the public as members.
“You have to get the people involved,” he said. “They’ve got to know what’s going on.”
Angelo also implored for County Controller Mark Pinsley to audit the contract with PrimeCare Medical, the jail health care provider.
Angelo is currently involved in a lawsuit against the county and PrimeCare on the grounds that an Allentown woman’s incarceration in 2021 caused her irreparable physical, psychological and emotional harm and violated her constitutional rights.
Resident Susan Jordhamo agreed about creating an oversight board.
“… I think that not enough citizens know what’s going on with our fellow citizens,” she said.
Commissioners didn’t respond to their comments.
Source: Morningcall

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