Category: Ford City

Ford City Receives Grant for Flood Mitigation

Ford City Borough Council Vice-President Tyson Klukan reads news that the municipality will receive a grant to help with flood mitigation.

Ford City Borough Council Vice-President Tyson Klukan reads news that the municipality will receive a grant to help with flood mitigation.

by Jonathan Weaver

Ford City Receives $315,000 in State Funding for Flood Mitigation
By Jonathan Weaver

A local municipality received a State grant yesterday to address flooding.

According to State Senator Don White and Representative Jeff Pyle, a $315,000 Flood Mitigation grant from the Commonwealth Financing Authority was awarded to Ford City Borough yesterday.

The money will be used by the borough to complete work at three existing storm water pump stations. The borough plans to upgrade outdated controls, replace worn-out or disabled pumps and renovate structural components of the stations to allow safe access to equipment and secure the stations from vandalism.

Ford City Borough Council Vice-President Tyson Klukan announced the grant at last night’s special meeting.

“On behalf of the Borough, this is fantastic news. This really helps,” Councilman Klukan said. “This is a proactive approach toward our FEMA flood situation. Council has been working very closely with Gibson-Thomas Engineering to tackle the FEMA issue.

“This is only Step One to secure some funding.”

Representative Pyle said the funding will not only add to the quality of life in the community, but also enhance the Borough’s attractiveness for economic development and job creation.

The CFA grant is the latest in a series of state funds awarded to Ford City for infrastructure improvements.

In April 2015, the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) approved a $3.1 million low-interest loan to the borough for the construction of a new water treatment plant and rehabilitation of a water storage tank that will allow for 720,000 gallons-per-day of treatment.

In 2010, Senator White and Representative Pyle secured a $467,000 Safe Drinking Water Grant for Ford City to move forward in making improvements to the water system.

Ford City also received $662,172 in H2O PA program funding in July 2009 to add wastewater disposal facilities, cover existing sedimentation tanks, recoat the elevated water storage tank, and replace appurtenant equipment to improve an aged and unreliable water system.

“Representative Pyle and I have been strong advocates for the infrastructure needs of Ford City as evidenced by the previous commitments of state funds to move these necessary improvements forward,” Senator White said.

New floodplain maps were issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency effective February 17.

Engineer Ed Schmitt added his ‘thank you’ to local legislators for their support.

“That’s not easy money to get – there was only $22 million statewide, I believe. I’m real pleased with that,” Schmitt said.

During his regular construction update, Schmitt said contractors are currently painting the tank and steel for the water treatment plant has been delivered. About 24 percent of the construction is complete.

“Overall, contractors are moving,” Schmitt said.

A trio of change orders was approved by Council – with the additional funding being paid through the construction contingency fund.

More than $900,000 has been paid out to date.

Community Comes Together for Ford City Parade

Ford City Halloween Parade marchers wait to hear if they received a top prize as part of last year's event. More than 350 people attended last year and about the same amount are expected Thursday evening.

Ford City Halloween Parade marchers wait to hear if they received a top prize as part of last year’s event. More than 350 people attended last year and about the same amount are expected Thursday evening.


by Jonathan Weaver

A nearly century-old tradition will invite ghosts, witches and all the Halloween costumes of today and yesteryear to march down the streets of Ford City Thursday.

Sponsored by the Ford City Activities Committee and the Ford City Lions Club – as well as with cooperation of the Ford City Fire Department and the support of local merchants -, the annual parade will begin and end at the Ford City Boro Building along 4th Avenue.

Ford City Historian Bill Oleksak and his wife, Kathy, became involved after they and their own children rode the parade route.

“(Wife) Kathy and I, and Kathy’s sister – Nancy Dragan – got involved when our kids were real young (more than 35 years ago). As the kids got older, we just stayed involved and sort-of became the parade directors,” Bill said.

In the 1980’s, Bill recalled the Oleksak family and friends coordinating many themed floats for the parade – including frogs, birds, and bumblebees.

Each costumed participant is given a gold dollar coin via the Ford City Lions Club, King Lion Brad Baillie said.

“We’ve been helping with that for years. It used to be the businessmen of Ford City (that coordinated the parade), but they dropped out and we sort-of said ‘Hey, we’ll pick it up.’ And we ran with it, Baillie said.

“Everybody that participates gets a gold coin,” Baillie said. “We’re not excluding anybody in any way. We want to thank everyone in our own little way that comes out and shows the community what you’ll look like for Halloween.”

The Lions Club’s two fundraisers per year raise money for the Halloween parade, and the annual Easter egg hunt. Proceeds from the toy drive are given from members personally.

“Those are small little things we like to give our community because the community does so much for us (so) we thought it’d be nice to give back to the community,” Baillie said. “When something so small makes a lot of people so happy, you can’t put a price tag on it.”
Monetary prizes will also be awarded for top costumed individuals, small groups (of two or three), and large groups (of four or more) – courtesy of donations from local merchants.

“The business community has been very, very supportive of the Halloween parade,” Bill said.

Prior to the parade, Bill and Kathy are two of the judges that critique costumes and floats.

“We look for originality; we look for creativity – especially homemade. Anybody can go into a store and buy a costume, but when you sit down at that sewing machine or put something together that’s different, those are the ones we’re looking for,” Kathy said. “Since we (participated) all those years, we kind-of know what we’re looking for.

“We get some really cute ones – there was one I can remember: she was a gypsy in a box and she told fortunes. It was all lit up – that was a real good one,” she continued. “Every year we look for those ones that are exceptional.”

Organizers aren’t certain when the first Halloween Parade was held, but a newspaper article from 1926 mentions the Ford City Halloween Parade. At that time, each participant received a nickel, and a party was held in the Ford City Eagles Club to judge the winners. Many residents also remember the after parade “get together”, as being held in the PPG Union Hall on 3rd Avenue and each marcher receiving a quarter.

Last year, the Armstrong Senior High School Band marched in the parade – in what was actually the school’s first in the new combined secondary school. This year, the Jr. High Band will lead the parade.

The present day Activities Committee was incorporated in 1978. Its members included representatives from the Ford City Hose Company # 1, the Kiwanis Club, the Lions Club, as well as Glass and Ceramic Workers Local 14 and 158. Its by-laws stated that the purpose of the parade was “to provide recreation and entertainment for people of the Ford City Area”.

Current Activities Committee members are Kathy and Bill Oleksak, Nancy Dragan, Tracy Kovalosky, Tim Malec, Andrew and Katie Tylinski, Casey and Brian Gilbertsen, and Anthony Palermo.
Approximately 350 costumed participants have been logged the past few years.

Last year, four young Legos won the top float prize, with pirates also winning the group prize.

After marching (or floating) from the borough building, participants will make a left onto 9th Street and proceed along 5th Avenue until making another left at 11th Street to go back to the fire hall and borough building for final awards.

The Armstrong Junior/Senior High LEO Club is also expected to help and dress up for the parade.

Thursday’s parade begins at 7PM.