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Brackenridge graveyard group seeks solid funding

| Friday, March 8, 2013, 1:21 a.m.

Members of Brackenridge's Prospect Cemetery Association are hoping they don't run out of money before the historic grounds celebrates its 150th anniversary later this year.

Association members attended Thursday's Brackenridge Council meeting to seek advice on how to enhance the cemetery's financial position.

Borough engineer James Garvin said the association is eligible for grants through funding programs such as the County Infrastructure and Tourism Fund operated by Allegheny County.

Prospect's treasury is down to about $20,000 and it costs $12,000 to $15,000 a year just to keep the grass mowed, according to Curt Murtland, association spokesman.

Association member Gail Murtland said the organization had been worth about $500,000, but the Enron financial scandal of 10 years ago and the financial market meltdown of 2008 has put the cemetery's fund in peril.

The cemetery association asked council to appoint a liaison to work with the group.

“We are looking a strategic partnership with the borough intended to maintain the cemetery,” said association member Lorri Wildi. “We have a daunting task ahead of us.”

While council didn't appoint a liaison Thursday, Garvin offered to meet with the group prior to April 5 when the applications for CITF grant funding is due.

In other business

• Officials said First Avenue will be closed from midnight to 8 a.m. Wednesday for another tandem delivery of equipment for the ATI-Allegheny Ludlum plant expansion project.

• The borough's Easter egg hunt will take place at Brackenridge Memorial Park on March 23 at 11:30 a.m.

• Police Chief Jamie Bock asked council to install signs along First Avenue from Mile Lock Lane to Morgan Street denoting that parking is available only to residents.

Workers from a mill expansion construction company have been using that area for parking.

• Councilman Timothy Connelly and Mayor Thomas Kish also met with Allegheny Ludlum officials concerning complaints of trucks dripping mud and sludge from the construction site through residential areas along Third Avenue, Sixth Avenue and Mile Lock Lane. They say it's clogging sewers, too.

Connelly said the steelmaker will be given about two more weeks to clean up the area.

• Garvin will apply for CITF funding for improvements at Brackenridge Memorial Park along the riverfront and for the borough building.

Officials said disabled people need access to the borough building, the windows in the building and lighting needs to be retrofitted for energy-saving measures, the police department needs air conditioning and the floor needs to be replaced.

• Council authorized $13,000 to continue mapping the curb boxes where residents tap into the water system.

Valves and hydrants also will be mapped.

• Council changed its meeting scheduled for July 4 to July 11.

George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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