By Jonathan Weaver
Those boaters who dock their crafts in Kittanning Riverfront Park overnight soon will be fined for breaking an amended ordinance.
Borough Council last night amended Ordinance #477 – which already restricted times and manner of recreational boats at the John P. Murtha Amphitheater – even more to increase traffic flow, said Borough Council President Randy Cloak.
“The concern has been that people come in from distances away or even locally and will place their boats at the dock and stay there a significant amount of time, thereby prohibiting other boats from coming in,” Cloak said. “I think this ordinance will actually help the two local boat marinas by forcing them to go there and patronize their businesses.
“It was never intended to be a permanent dock space or overnight dock space, but mainly access to the park.”
First Ward Councilman David Croyle noted the news during the Labor Day Weekend that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is set to negotiate this month with the non-profit Allegheny River Development Corporation to reopen Locks #6-9 (including the one in Kittanning) on weekends and holidays as soon as this May, and hopes the amendment doesn’t discourage boaters.
“I understand the purpose, I understand the reasoning – I’m not necessarily opposed to that – but I do have some concerns now that the nonprofit (Allegheny River Development Corporation) has persuaded the (U.S.) Army Corp of Engineers to open the locks again,” Croyle said. “It’s going to increase boat traffic – which will be a wonderful thing to downtown Kittanning. I don’t want to slow down anyone who would want to come.”
Council President Pro Tempe Kim Fox said the issue was first reported to her by another boater.
First Ward Councilwoman Betsy Wilt motioned to enact the amendment and it was seconded by Second Ward Councilwoman Joie Pryde before it was passed, 7-1. Croyle opposed the ordinance.
The amendment changes the original ordinance limiting times of recreational boat dockage passed in 2007.
Planning and Development Community Division Director Jennifer Bellas announced that Kittanning Borough will receive more in Community Development Block Grants this year – which she recommended to possibly put back into repaving borough streets.
Council members will have slightly-less than $67,400 to allocate toward a project – possibly Phase II of the borough revitalization project or toward more paving of municipal streets.
“The second option would be paving McKean and Jefferson (Streets) one block out from Market (Street) once crews are done with the revitalization project,” Bellas said. “Those are streets we didn’t include, because we were afraid they would impact construction.
“Obviously, with $67,000, it will be a multi-year project, but it will give us time to finish Phase II and III and build up the pot of funds to do so.”
If either of the two options is selected, random income surveys would still have to be issued to residents in the municipality since.
“I think either project is beneficial – personally, I like the paving idea,” Cloak said. “A number of years in block grant dollars have been allocated toward the revitalization idea, and while I think that’s a worthwhile project, the paving on those streets leading up to Market Street shows a need.”
Fox agreed. A public hearing will be scheduled before the end of the year when the application is due to the Department of Community and Economic Development.
Any paving would be performed at the earliest 2016.
Following an executive session to discuss personnel and legal matters, council members tried to alleviate some personnel hirings and resignations.
Last month, Borough Council hired part-time street workers Benjamin McCanna, Duke Zellefrow and Tyler Cremeans.
A motion was made to re-hire McCanna and Zellefrow, effective today, but after further discussion, the move will be made into effect as soon as Monday, September 8 after review by Solicitor Tyler Heller – who was not at the rescheduled meeting Tuesday.
Officer Eric Smith – who resigned August 9 – also was unanimously approved to be reimbursed his pension fund contributions of more than $1,870.
Smith began June 20, 2013. Mayor Atwood asked that council continue to seek part-time officers to minimize overtime costs and act as a “floater” in case of emergency call-offs or vacation, which they agreed with.