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Harrison motorists blocked from Sylvan property

Madasyn Czebiniak
| Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, 4:54 p.m.
Concrete barriers now block roads through the Sylvan Pool property in Harrison.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Concrete barriers now block roads through the Sylvan Pool property in Harrison.
Concrete barriers now block roads through the Sylvan Pool property in Harrison.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Concrete barriers now block roads through the Sylvan Pool property in Harrison.

For some living near Sylvan Park Pool in Harrison, alternate routes have become an everyday occurrence.

The two roads that go through Sylvan's property — Meadow and Pearl streets — have been blocked off with black-and-yellow jersey barriers since Monday.

Pool president David Christopher said the action was taken because township officials weren't honoring a long-standing agreement they had with the pool.

The agreement was that if the township maintained the two roads, the pool would keep them open to the public.

“I decided it was time to act,” Christopher said. “We waited until the end of the season so that we didn't inconvenience our members.

“And I hate to inconvenience the people that live down there, but we have to do what we have to do to protect our corporation.”

The action is not sitting well with some residents.

“I think it's terrible,” said Carl Jack, who has lived on Pearl Street for 50 years. “There's a lot of people affected by it.”

Harrison recently paved Pearl Street, Christopher said. He now wants the township to mill and add catch basins along the road that connects to Meadow Street. He considers the stretch a flood risk because it has been paved so many times there is no longer a curb there.

The roads will stay closed until an agreement is reached, he said.

“I'm amicable to getting together with them and working out a solution,” Christopher said.

Township Solicitor Emily Mueller said the blocked off area does not belong to Harrison, therefore the township can't control what happens there.

Commissioners Vice President Bill Heasley oversees Harrison's 4th Ward, which includes the pool area. He said commissioners have been advised by Mueller to not discuss the agreement until it can be reviewed further.

“We're not allowed to comment on it right now,” he said.

He said he has gotten calls from at least six residents regarding the situation. The commissioners are looking into it.

“They're upset about the whole thing,” he said. “They think it's not right.”

Jack, 73, lives within a short walking distance of the pool. He said the blockage is an inconvenience to all township residents, not just those who live in his neighborhood.

A lot of people use the private roads to shortcut from Burtner Road to Saxonburg Road, he said. He's also worried about how it could potentially affect emergency responders.

“If there's a fire, an ambulance call ... it could be life or death,” Jack said. “The only way out of here now is going up Parkway (Avenue). If Parkway had a water main break or they're paving it — I'm locked in here. I can't get out.”

Mueller said the township has notified police, fire and EMS workers of the closure. She said emergency workers know where they are supposed to detour, and there will be no hindrance in response.

Shane McGregor has lived on Pearl Street for about four months and uses the private roads regularly. He said he understands why Sylvan closed the roads, but thinks it will ultimately hurt their business.

“A lot of these people ... I'm sure go to Sylvan,” he said. “When you start messing with their daily life, they're not going to be too happy.”

Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4702, or via Twitter @maddyczebstrib.

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