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Glen Rock council votes to move taps to park
Joshua Corney and his attorney, Witold Walczak, speak to media following the Glen Rock Borough Council meeting on Wednesday, July 19, 2017.
After months of controversy, the Glen Rock Borough Council voted this week to move one resident's nightly taps playing to a public park.
When the move will be made is still up in the air, however.
Joshua Corney, a lieutenant commander in the Navy, has been playing a 57-second recording from his borough home just before 8 p.m. nightly for about two years now. Last spring, he added loudspeakers at his property that make the music audible throughout the borough.
After complaints from neighbors, the borough council ordered him to play no more than once a week and on "flag holidays," such as July 4, Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
That didn’t last long, because the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania threatened to sue the borough if Corney wasn’t allowed to play his music, and the council backed down.
In July, the council discussed moving the music to the Glen Rock Park as part of a new memorial dedicated to veterans, and a special committee for taps was formed.
On Wednesday, Nov. 15, the council agreed to allow the committee to play taps at Glen Rock Park on Fair School Road, according to Council President Doug Young.
Council members unanimously voted to to install speakers at that park and to add to the existing memorial at Veteran's Memorial Park.
"With these items being decided, I expect the speaker installation to proceed at a much quicker pace," Young said.
The memorial additions will be included in the ongoing buildup of the Glen Rock Veteran's Memorial Park, he added.
Corney said the council voted to provide $2,000 toward purchasing the speakers, but all other costs will be covered by donations.
Fundraising is underway, and “we will continue until we are able to cover the cost of the memorial and taps," he said.
'Victory' for all: Scott Thomason, Corney's neighbor who complained about the volume of Corney's music, was happy to hear about the decision.
“I think it’s a victory for everybody," he said.
Thomason said those who support the idea of playing taps in the borough will now have a place to hear the music.
“They can get in their cars and actually show their patriotism," he said.
Future: Corney said the committee's next steps will be identifying any additional costs, determining the location of the speakers and scheduling construction.
He said the committee will have to decide when taps will be played. Right now, Corney plays taps from his home at about 8 p.m.
“I think we will probably end up putting it at a specific time," he said.
For the time being, Corney will continue playing taps from loudspeakers at his home until the speakers at the Glen Rock Park are installed. Even then, he said, he will continue playing taps from his home, but at a lower volume "for personal use."
Thomason, who has taken to playing his own music via a handheld speaker during Corney's taps ritual, said his issue is with the volume of his neighbor's music.
“As long as my backyard isn’t his personal military base, that’s fine with me," he said of Corney playing the music at a lower volume.
But, he said, if Corney keeps playing music loudly after the music is being played at the park, he will continue playing his own music in protest.
The next council meeting is 7 p.m. Dec. 20. Corney said he hopes to have more information about the future of taps by then.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.