Category: Ford City

FC Cops Get Stun Guns With Eagles Donation

(L-R) Eagles Treasurer Chris Zilla, Ryan Bloser, Eagles President Chris Trego, Officer Jon Freel, Ford City Mayor Jeff Cogley, Eagles Trustee Jim Hutchison stand behind the new taser gun equipment. No Ford City Council members attended the news conference.

(L-R) Eagles Treasurer Chris Zilla, Ryan Bloser, Eagles President Chris Trego, Officer Jon Freel, Ford City Mayor Jeff Cogley, Eagles Trustee Jim Hutchison stand behind the new taser gun equipment. No Ford City Council members attended the news conference.

by David Croyle

The Ford City Police Department has new equipment to fight crime because of a donation by the Ford City Eagles.

In early November, the police were given $3,000 to purchase new taser guns.

Eagles President Chris Trego said the money given to the Ford City Police Department was not the only local contribution the organization has made this year.

“We also gave $3,000 to Manor (Township Police) for their new radio systems, where they can check up on driver’s licenses faster and check the BOLO alerts. We have been supporting the police with many local projects over the years. They had a transmission problem a few years ago and we paid for it – took care of it completely,” Trego said.

Mayor Jeff Cogley congratulated the club on its contributions to the community.

“We are very appreciative for the support that they have (given), not only for the police department but for everything they do in the community. They do a lot of good things,” Cogley said.

In 2015, the Ford City Eagles gave away $63,000 to mostly local organizations.

Most of the money collected by the Ford City Eagles comes through small games of chance.

“Keep in mind that with the gaming money, we have to give away 60% of what we take in,” Trego explained.

Officer Jon Freel said the tasers are capable of reaching the offender up to 25 feet away.

“If someone is a danger to themselves, or is not being compliant to an officer’s orders, there are multiple scenarios of when you would deploy a taser,” Freel said.

He said all the officers, including new part-time policemen, undergo a training process in taser operation as well as the emotional/psychological component of when to deploy it.

Cogley said the new arsenal is the beginning of stepping up law enforcement in Ford City and had a message for would-be criminals:

“You may come to Ford City and you may get away with something today, but we are proactive and we are going to send a message. We are not out there being forceful with anybody, but we are going to be proactive policing. We are going to be community-oriented, and protect our citizens.”

Trego said the Ford City Eagles invite non-profit organizations to send a letter outlining their project. If it is a project that will benefit the community, the request will be considered by their Board of Directors.

Multiple Communities Benefit from Grant Funding

Construction vehicles and road barriers will move back into Kittanning Borough's first ward after state Commonwealth Financing Authority officials awarded grant money to mill and pave portions of South Jefferson Street - from the newly-paved Jacob Street past Kittanning Hose Company #1 fire station to Mulberry Street. (KP 2015 File Photo)

Construction vehicles and road barriers will move back into Kittanning Borough’s first ward after state Commonwealth Financing Authority officials awarded grant money to mill and pave portions of South Jefferson Street – from the newly-paved Jacob Street past Kittanning Hose Company #1 fire station to Mulberry Street. (KP 2015 File Photo)

by Jonathan Weaver

More than a half-dozen Armstrong County boroughs and townships will be able to make roadway and sidewalk improvements as soon as 2017 folllowing a grant announcement yesterday.

Commonwealth Financing Authority leaders awarded a nearly-$532,000 state grant through the Multimodal Transportation Fund to fund projects in Elderton, Ford City, Freeport, Kittanning and South Bethlehem Boroughs, as well as Madison and North Buffalo Townships.

The grant dollars require local agencies provide matching funding — with the total equaling a 70 percent share of state money matched by a local share of 30 percent, which will be provided by the municipalities and Armstrong County.

The project’s total price tag of more than $768,000 includes funding allocated for administration costs as well.

In a press release, State Senator Don White applauded the Commonwealth Financing Authority and local officials.

“This is a true testament to all of our local community, economic development and elected officials who worked together to provide the necessary local matching funds to help improve the infrastructure and quality of life here in our community,” Senator White wrote.

Kittanning Borough received additional funding in order to mill and pave Jefferson Street, from Jacob Street to Mulberry Street. Jacob Street was repaved earlier this year after initially being paved through Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant funds in October 2015.

Ford City Borough received additional funding to mill and pave two blocks of 3rd Avenue, allowing for better access to the Armstrong Trail. This summer, Ford City also received multimodal grant funds to make sidewalks handicapped-accessible by adding 130 curbs.

In North Buffalo Township, funding will be used to restore a six-foot rotting drainage pipe under Sportsman Road. Township supervisors have been analyzing cost options with engineers as well as talking to PennDOT officials earlier this year in hopes of remedying the problem.

Grant funding will also benefit Elderton Borough (to improve sidewalks along Main and Quince Streets), Freeport Borough (by milling paving to create better access to the Butler-Freeport Community Trail in the Lanesville neighborhood), Madison Township (to upgrade Scenic Road and provide better access in and out of Rimer) and South Bethlehem (to repair 2,200 square feet of sidewalk and install nearly 30 handicapped-accessible ramps.

The Multimodal Transportation Fund grant was made possible by Act 89 (the Transportation Bill signed by then-Governor Tom Corbett in 2013 to fund road projects, bridge repairs and mass transit.

Selections were based on such criteria as safety benefits, regional economic conditions, the technical and financial feasibility, job creation, energy efficiency and operational sustainability.

FC Negotiates Contract to Allow Water Extraction

 Ford City Borough Council members held open negotiation with PennEnergy Resources during the special council meeting last week regarding water extraction from the Allegheny River.

Ford City Borough Council members held open negotiation with PennEnergy Resources during the special council meeting last week regarding water extraction from the Allegheny River.

by Jonathan Weaver

Ford City Borough Council members have come to a consensus on financial considerations they expect for PennEnergy Resources to extract water from the Allegheny River on the vacant brownfields site.

Attorney Nathaniel Parker

Attorney Nathaniel Parker

After more than an hour of discussion and negotiation with PennEnergy Resources Land Manager Zach Dixon and Attorney Nathaniel Parker, the five Borough Council members agreed PennEnergy can utilize up to seven acres of the brownfields near the Ford City Veterans Bridge if Ford City is compensated $125,000 per year with a five-year agreement and then future extensions if both parties come to an mutual agreement.

“We want to strike a deal that works for all parties involved,” Dixon said.

Earlier in the negotiations, Dixon said $150,000 per year would be in-excess what PennEnergy “values” the potential site and he had managerial support to agree up to $50,000 per year.

Council Vice-President Tyson Klukan clarified that the six-figure compensation is more than double what PennEnergy first offered Ford City a few months ago – in $12,000 per year – and that land usage deals would be made every five years if necessary rather than every 10 years.

“(The public negotiation) was something (Council) thought was transparent, but also you’re putting the facts on the table and the numbers on the table,” Klukan said. “It was a long and healthy conversation.

“This could be good – there hasn’t been anything on that brownfield in over 20 years – so we shall see.”

Ford City Borough Council also agreed PennEnergy should pay more of a signing bonus for the land usage – $15,000 up from the proposed $10,000. Construction can take up to three years, but upfront bonus payments would continue.

Payments would cease after three years if the agreement is terminated.

For perspective, $15,000 equates to about half a mill of local real estate taxes.

Council President Carol Fenyes was still concerned what near-constant truck traffic along 2nd or 5th Avenues could mean for homeowners or infrastructure downtown. Parker estimated it could be upwards of 600 truck loads per day – due to four months PennEnergy does not extract water.

Fenyes said coal truck traffic can range from 5AM-10PM during summer months.

“I’m concerned about all the residents along 5th Avenue – that does considerable damage,” Fenyes said.

Dixon cautioned council members that whether Ford City Borough signed the agreement or not, truck traffic could come via the state highway from another gas well site or municipality.

“There’s no doubt it will be a lot of trucks,” Dixon said. “It’s not going to be constant – it’s going to be intermittent activity, increasing in intensity during certain times.”

In Ford City’s counter agreement, PennEnergy would also have to consent to monthly discussions, an indemnity agreement and increased ways to address safety concerns –including fencing and lighting the site and bonding roads.

“(Safety parameters) are agreeable to PennEnergy, largely in-line with our business practices already and we’re happy to accommodate all of those,” Dixon said.

Councilwoman Beth Bowser said she was comfortable negotiating with Dixon as well as with motioning for the agreement to be made.

“It’s just like any project or agreement – you can speculate until the cows come home, but until things get grooving and moving and put together, there are all those unknowns that come up,” Bowser said.

Dixon said any final agreement is based on the opinion on company President and Chief Operating Officer Greg Muse. PennEnergy hoped to begin operations next year.

PennEnergy Resources Land Manager Zach Dixon

PennEnergy Resources Land Manager Zach Dixon

Attorney Parker also proposed a per-gallon figure or a flat-rate, but Dixon was not receptive due to meter and filtration expenses.

“The preliminary numbers we’ve talked about is (withdrawing) one million gallons per day,” Parker said. “That seems like a fair amount of water, so we’re trying to find a number that would be fair compensation.

“Agreeing to a very-low figure for a very-long amount of time is a concern for (Borough Council) because they are worried that they might not feel comfortable that they might be good stewards of the public’s land.”

The Ford City Borough Planning Commission recommendation and subsequent Borough Council agreement to rezone the brownfield and riverfront property and have it become light-industrial/mixed use was not a contingency in the proposed agreement with PennEnergy.

The Borough would be able to terminate the deal should the land be sold.

Construction would not begin until roads are bonded.