Category: Kittanning Borough

Street Reconstruction Projects Proposed for Kittanning

Neither public residents nor Kittanning Borough Council members voiced opposition to current plans on how to use the Borough’s 2016 Community Development Block Grant funds.

At the municipality’s second public hearing last night, County Planning and Development Project Manager Sally Conklin explained Kittanning Borough currently plans to spend more than $68,000 in 2016 funds, along with portions of 2015 and 2014 funds, on multi-year street improvements to Campbell Street, Sampson Street and Fair Street.

2014 funds were originally designated toward housing rehabilitation, but elected officials identified the Sampson Street project and requested a modification.

The remainder of the nearly-$15,000 in 2016 grant funding will go to the Planning and Development staff to cover administration costs.

Conklin estimated Campbell Street and Sampson Street projects would begin next year.

While no public residents attended last night’s meeting, they can make comments to Conklin at the Planning and Development office along Market Street in Kittanning by Wednesday, Sept. 28.

Borough Council members will vote on a resolution of the CDBG use at their October 3 public meeting. The application deadline is before Thanksgiving.

Kittanning Councilman Lobbies for Stricter Enforcement

Kittanning Councilman Dr. Gerald Shuster said he had more telephone calls over a trash trailer parked on North McKean Street than any other issue he has encountered in the borough. He petitioned Council for stricter enforcement throughout the borough.

Kittanning Councilman Dr. Gerald Shuster said he had more telephone calls over a trash trailer parked on North McKean Street than any other issue he has encountered in the borough. He petitioned Council for stricter enforcement throughout the borough.

from the KP NewsDesk

Councilman Dr. Gerald Shuster stepped away from behind the desk to appear in front of Kittanning Borough Council last night to urge his colleagues to press for stricter code compliance.

Shuster pointed to the town hall meeting on August 24, in which local residents gave very specific input to not just the reuse of school properties, but Kittanning as a community.

“The people at the public said we do everything that it seems we can to discourage young people from coming and settling down into the community. It’s not going to take any new laws. It’s not going to take more money. It is going to take attention and effort on the part of Borough Council and the people we appoint to supervise streets, law, and everything else in the community, to get it back to where it suppose to be. Kittanning should be the place to be – not a place to be from! It’s time we bring back the pride, and we certainly don’t have it right now.  Those people in that public meeting should be thanked for energizing us.”

Shuster contrasted the beauty of the Bugsy’s Pizza court yard created last year with over 50 old tires piled up in front of AAAA Tire just a few hundred feet down on South Jefferson Street – calling the old tires a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the Zika virus.

He also said he has received more complaints over a trailer on North McKean Street over the past few weeks.

“A situation that occurred in my area. There was a trailer full of trash – a construction wide trailer – and it was parked on North McKean Street for about five or six days. It was parked in front of a home that was just recently purchased by a professional couple, who have totally renovated the house and spent a small fortune trying to bring that house up to date. Then to have next to them, their neighbor, park a trash trailer in front of them while they brought their family and relatives in, just added insult to injury. While they made an attempt to get the trailer removed and the trash too, ultimately after five or six more days, the trash was taken off the trailer. But if you were to go up McKean Street tonight, you would find the empty trailer parked between the curb and the sidewalk. I think that is patently illegal to do that because that is our right of way. So while the trailer was parked there, they did remove some of the trash. Now the trailer is parked back on the street. Two cars cannot pass simultaneously. One has to stop to let the other one pass. I know for a fact that we have the legal wherewithal to prevent that from occurring. But this is the tip of the iceberg.”

Shuster continued by pointing out “meticulously maintained properties beside a house that has had scaffolding around it since they did the first ‘Walking Dead’ movie.”

He called for Council to step up with code enforcement. He referred to Habitat for Humanity’s efforts to stimulate rehabilitation of various properties.

“Why do they need to tell us that we need to get some fire under us and get moving on cleaning up the community?

“Let’s get that trailer off the street because it is symbolic of everything that is wrong in our community right now. I think when people see things like that that need addressed, they need to bring down the number of the house to (the Borough Office) and let us take it from there.”

In other news, it was estimated that new traffic patterns on Jefferson Street could go into effect as early as the end of October. The new two-way traffic will also mean a four-way stop at the intersection of Jacob and South Jefferson.

Council also voted to take out another loan to pay contractors for revitalization work done on Market Street. They approved a payment of $219,628.59 to be awarded to M&B Services. Because the Borough has to wait to get reimbursed from the State, they agreed to secure a line of credit for $950,000 from First Commonwealth Bank of Leechburg, which had the lowest fees and interest rate of the five local banks that submitted a bid.

No Decision Made on School Re-Use Proposal

Armstrong School District Superintendent Chris DeVivo and School Board President Joseph Close is seeking input from Kittanning and Ford City Borough council officials and residents regarding TREK Development’s demolition proposal.

by Jonathan Weaver

Armstrong School District board directors are waiting for input from local borough officials before discussing more about a proposal to tear down the former Kittanning Junior High and Ford City Junior/Senior High Schools.

Two weeks ago in front of about 150 people between two meetings, TREK Development President William Gatti, Jr. proposed for both former schools to both be demolished and townhouses to be built at both sites after the firm was not able to find a way to historically preserve the school buildings.

However, the school district will make the final decision, as it is still the property owners.

School Board President Joseph Close listened to the proposal in a joint meeting with county commissioners, Planning and Development leaders and Kittanning Borough and Ford City Borough officials in the middle of August.

“I think it’s something we can work with if all the pieces line up – there are a lot of them that have to line up for the project to move forward,” Close said. “If it’s well-received, it might be a good option for us. We’ll have to see how things transpire.”

One of those pieces includes grant funding that would help for the building demolition.

There is no timeframe to make a final decision.

“While we ultimately make the decision what to do with the buildings, if there’s overwhelming negativity about it, that’d be something to think about,” Close said. “We’re trying to make it best for everybody.”

Close and District Superintendent Chris DeVivo said input from borough councils will be welcomed.

“Both Ford City and Kittanning Boroughs are exploring their options and trying to determine what’s best for their communities and I’m sure our board will listen to what the leadership of those communities have to say regarding that proposal,” DeVivo said.

Close said board members are still open for other suggestions or offers.

A private individual did submit a letter to school officials after attending the August 24 public meeting.

Last month, Gatt said a formal purchase offer has not been made, but the firm is prepared to “if there’s general consensus.”