Coraopolis facades get lift with county grant program
By Sandra Fischione Donovan
Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
When John and Carol Planitzer bought a building several years ago on Fifth Avenue in Coraopolis, its dated façade of red glass panels hadn't been changed in 30 years or more.
So when Bill Sweterlitsch, a member of the Coraopolis Business District Advisory Committee, told them about an Allegheny County façade improvement program, they decided to apply for a grant. Investing slightly more than $12,500 — the size of the grant they received from the county — they installed energy efficient windows and a new façade.
Today, the building, now home to Forberg Scientific, has a rust, taupe and buff color scheme and nostalgic gooseneck lighting. All it needs is a sign, which the Planitzers intend to install eventually. It's one of three Fifth Avenue facades updated through the county program last year; Sweterlitsch hopes six more businesses apply in 2013.
“I think it's a good thing for the business community in general,” John Planitzer said. “If we don't (update), we'll end up like some small communities” that have seen even more deterioration.
As a third-generation retailer in Coraopolis, Sweterlitsch recalls that the borough did well decades ago, then declined along with heavy manufacturing and underwent various revitalization efforts.
“We want to make a destination point of Coraopolis, not a thoroughfare,” said Jackie Smith of ESB Bank in Coraopolis, chairwoman of the advisory committee's community life effort.
The borough's location on Route 51 makes it a thoroughfare through which many motorists travel without stopping. To make it more of a destination point, Coraopolis is adding band entertainment on May 25 on Mill Street to its annual car cruise, Veterans of Foreign Wars ceremonies and a parade for the Memorial Day weekend.
Sweterlitsch, co-owner of nearby Coraopolis True Value Hardware with his brother, Ken, said the advisory committee also wants to “re-green” the downtown area with trees and flowers and install signs that would direct tourists to borough amenities.
Visitors would be introduced to Coraopolis through the county's planned Sports Legacy Park project at the eastern end of the borough. A proposed extension of the Montour Trail could connect to the proposed Moon waterfront park and Ohio River Trail into Beaver County.
Sports Legacy Park is planned for about 78 acres in both the borough and neighboring Robinson that once were the Montour Railroad's turnaround and maintenance yard. The county has until November to begin construction on the first of what could be 15 to 18 synthetic and grass playing fields.
Dennis Davin, county director of economic development, said design of the first phase of three or four fields is nearly finished.
“There is no facility like this in Western Pennsylvania,” Davin said.
The project could cost $15 million to $18 million, and accommodate major tournaments that would mean more visitors and development of new hotels and restaurants.
“Nothing we do is pie-in-the-sky,” Davin said. “We're going to see it through.”
Sandra Fischione Donovan is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Bethel Park brewpub gets council’s approval
- Teens from Western Pa. high schools work to address global water shortage
- Churches throughout Allegheny County host sunrise Easter services
- YMCA plan for Bethel Park fitness club mired in appeals
- Construction of Allegheny County sports complex fields delayed
- Owners of Lawrenceville bakery to open store in Mt. Lebanon
- Developer plans hotels, ice rink for Marshall industrial park
- Mt. Lebanon School District might add international students to fortify budget
- Moon Area eyes building swap with Christian school