by Jonathan Weaver
The former-Ford City Junior/Senior High cannon has been painted many colors during the former rivalry with Kittanning, but its final stain for Ford City Memorial Park is up for debate.
Facilities and Property Director Bill Henley reminded Ford City Borough officials that school board directors approved the donation of the German cannon in December 2014, but Ford City officials need to find a copy of that letter.
Councilwoman Kathy Bartuccio leads a local committee to determine its final hue and location.
“Mr. Henley told me that they want the cannon removed from that area,” Bartuccio said. “So, as far as I know, the cannon is ours and we just have to decide where we’re going to place it in the park and what we’re going to do with it.
“If they sell the property, they want it gone before that.”
A 1976 Ford City High graduate, Bartuccio said the cannon was also the school colors before red and white paint was thrown over top to signify the local rivalry.
“Between the two it was a lot of fun,” Bartuccio said.
In June, former Councilwoman Vicki Schaub hoped the cannon could be restored to its natural color, however, some committee members want to keep it purple and gold.
“That way it would be a memory for the last graduating class,” Bartuccio said.
Other committee members include Councilman Marc Mantini, local historian Bill Oleksak and County Veterans Affairs Director Chuck Righi.
Borough Parks and Recreation Committee Member Stacy Klukan said cannons in Brackenridge are the original color, not brown and gold for Highlands High School. She suggested the local cannon also be restored and placed near the War Memorial.
Schaub applauded Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post #4843 for possible renovations in the future. The Post requested the cannon following the school’s closure.
Mantini – speaking as mayor in June – also thanked the members for their volunteer donation.
Former Post commander Karl Swigart of North Buffalo Township first talked with School Board Director Paul Lobby about giving the cannon to the Post years ago. His first recommendation was for it to be donated to the borough to be placed in Memorial Park.
“Regardless which area they put it in, I brought it up at the meeting to maybe donate some money and have it repainted or whatever it would take,” Swigart said. “With all the different classes coming back to Ford City and all the events in the park, at least people who went to Ford City High School throughout the years would see the old cannon.”
Council Vice-President Tyson Klukan (a 2010 Ford City graduate) isn’t on the cannon committee, but is just glad the cannon will remain in Ford City.
“It’ll be nice to see a small part of history stay in town,” Klukan said.
Committee members will meet the second week of May.
Crime Watch President Dean Hutchinson also invited all elected officials and citizens in attendance to attend tonight’s crime watch meeting – which begins at 6PM at the Latin American Club.
Mayor Jeff Cogley said the organization would be a great thing for local residents to get involved in and that the community involvement helps local police officers.