Apollo seeks more grants, donations to cover intersection improvements
Traffic on the Roaring Run Trail is steadily increasing through Apollo, including where the trail crosses what is said to be the second busiest intersection in Armstrong County.
Borough officials are working to get more money for safety improvements at Routes 56 and 66 after bids came in higher than the funding originally available.
More money has to be found before deadlines expire for grant money the borough already has for the project, which would improve handicapped ramps and pedestrian crossing signals at the intersection.
“We're begging for money is what we're doing,” council President David Heffernan said.
At a special meeting Monday, council approved applying to Armstrong County for about $20,000 from the county's liquid fuels fund.
That would cover the difference between money the borough already has available from the county and PennDOT, and the separate, lowest bids for the ramps and signals.
The borough hopes to have an answer from the county on Thursday. Commissioners meet that morning; Apollo Council meets that night.
While asking for all the money needed, Heffernan said the borough is not expecting to get it.
The borough has been told the most the county would have available is about $4,800 — leaving a shortfall of about $15,200.
The borough is looking for money in its own accounts. About $10,000 in payments from fees on Marcellus shale drilling could go toward the project.
Looking to trail group for help
The borough also is asking for help from the Roaring Run Watershed Association, which maintains the recreational trail and nature reserve.
Safety for trail users made improving the intersection a higher priority, according to Heffernan.
Contacted after council's meeting, Roaring Run President Neill Andritz said he expects the organization to contribute something toward the project.
That's despite some recent rocky relations between the borough and the trail group over a parking lot near the intersection. Heffernan wants the borough to install parking meters; the trail group opposes that.
Kicking in money for the project will be discussed at a Roaring Run board meeting on Aug. 6, Andritz said.
The trail was extended through the borough within the past two years, and traffic on it has been increasing, Andritz said.
“Of course, we want the safest possible intersection for our trail users,” he said. “That's something we're going to look at at the board meeting.”
Heffernan said the intersection, as it is, is dangerous. Some residents, he said, avoid it entirely.
“What's there is not satisfactory,” he said. “I want that intersection as safe as humanly possible.”
Existing handicapped ramps at the intersection do not meet current requirements, he said.
There are no crosswalks to alert drivers, and pedestrians often find they don't have enough time to get across — where the trail crosses, the road is three lanes wide.
“I'm no spring chicken,” Heffernan said, “but it's pretty bad when I can't get across before the lights change.”
New crossing signals would count down the time available to cross, and crosswalks would be painted.
Andritz said Roaring Run raised money with two recent successful events.
He could not say how much the group may give.
“Money is extremely tight as you know with most nonprofits,” he said.
Seeking PennDOT grant
The borough is also trying to get more money from PennDOT. Heffernan said the agency should be motivated to help now; otherwise, PennDOT will have to pay the entire cost for the ramps when the intersection is resurfaced in three years.
To get the project moving, Heffernan raised the possibility of the borough taking out a small loan.
That met with resistance from other council members, most notably Vice President Cindee Virostek, who said, “No,” to the idea of a loan.
Council will soon begin work on the borough's 2014 budget, and its financial picture will become clearer. A loan could be paid off quickly, or the borough at worst would be left with a small payment, Heffernan said.
The borough needs to award contracts for the projects soon so that contractors, backed up by this summer's wet weather, can get started.
Project completion deadlines exist for the grant money already received, although exactly when those deadlines are was not immediately clear Monday night.
“If we don't get something started pretty quick, we'll be in trouble,” Heffernan said.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
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.
- Tarentum man wants confiscated cash back so he can hire attorney
- EPA finds no contamination from Parks Township nuclear dump
- Cambodian students answer Oakmont group’s prayers
- Leechburg Area School District contracts with Pittsburgh firm for online database
- Hosannas for nonprofit helping to fix Tarentum man’s house
- Waterline break closes Apollo-Ridge schools
- Lower Burrell sewer projects will cost millions
- Leechburg lands $11M package for sewer separation project
- Highlands to reassess bus contract
- Loan completes financing for Bell Township waterline extension
- New Kensington-Arnold consolidates, closes 2 elementary schools