It was like a scene from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The community gathered together to celebrate the completion of the Revitalization Project which eliminated utility lines, installed sidewalks, and provided new street lights and pavement on Market Street. As they did, the snow began to gently fall making it a magical moment for politicians and business leaders in attendance.
Revitalization Committee President Andy Bradigan said the entire project came at a price tag of $8.9 million, and made possible by grants and contributions by many governmental, non-profit, and private organizations and individuals.
“The project began five years ago with an investment from the Redevelopment Assistance Program of $1 million. That grant was administered through the County Department of Economic Development and under the coordination of Kittanning Borough officials, committees, and the County of Armstrong. Following a traffic study of the Market Street corridor of borough-wide traffic patterns, the Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative grant, the project design was complete.
“It was done in four phases with sidewalks and bump-outs, ADA ramps and crosswalks, all aimed at making travel safer for pedestrians. Jefferson and McKean streets that were once one-way were converted into two-way to improve traffic flow. New mast arms and poles, new traffic signals and controllers, and relocating utility lines underground contributed to the updated aesthetic streetscape. A local contributor made it possible for a street clock to be erected between Nextier and Citizens banks. Landscaping, benches, new trash receptacles, flower baskets and other improvements helped create a walkable space that can be enjoyed by residents and visitors for many years to come,” Bradigan said.
PA State Senator Don White, who is currently in his 19th year of office, said that completion of the project was part of his commitment to Armstrong County.
“If it wasn’t for Armstrong County, I would have never got elected. This is the place of my birth, and has supported me like no other county including where I live. I made a promise that after I was elected Armstrong County would never feel like a step-child. I have kept that promise. I am humbled by what’s going on. The county seat both here and Indiana are two treasures and say so much about our counties. Indiana went through this refurbishing 15 years ago. It’s paid off. Kittanning is the hub of Armstrong County, both geographical and governmental. I’m hard pressed to think that anyone planning to live, work, or play in Armstrong County isn’t going to come through Kittanning and leave with the impression that reflects the entire county – an impression that may cause someone to invest here or go elsewhere.”
Councilwoman Betsy Wilt represented Kittanning Borough Council. She thanked the various governmental agencies and those who performed the task of transforming the main street of town into a showcase that can attract future business.
Jeff Pyle remembered his childhood and the impact Market Street had on him as he walked across the Citizen’s Bridge from Applewold with his grandmother.
“I remember I would look up and see (the court house). And I would think, ‘Wow!’ I’m going to go over to Applewold today, and I am going to walk across the bridge one more time. Then I will know today is a good day.”
Each of the Armstrong County commissioners gave brief remarks and also credited past commissioners with vision for the project.
The actual project took more than five years to complete in four separate phases. The final phase of the project beautified the area around the court house.
A ribbon was stretched across Market Street near the pedestrian crossing outside the Planning and Development office. Dignitaries cut the ribbon in unison as snowflakes gently fell down on the Market Street streetscape that now has a new, wonderful life.