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Brackenridge awards catch-basin contract

| Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, 1:46 a.m.

Brackenridge is getting set to move forward with its stormwater/sanitary sewer separation project.

Council on Thursday night voted 6-0 to award a nearly $140,000 contract to Independent Excavating of Oakdale to take out 12 catch basins in the Stieren Avenue section of the sanitary system and direct the stormwater toward the river with about 1,600 feet of drainage pipe.

The work is part of a federal consent decree designed to ease the amount of stormwater that overwhelms sewage treatment plants during heavy rains.

Brackenridge's project, known as Phase VII, will be paid for in part by a $93,700 federal Community Development Block Grant. The remainder of the project money will come from the borough's sewage maintenance fund.

Work is expected to proceed immediately and take about three or four weeks to complete,.

In other developments, council said it intends to repave Anchor Alley and Kepple Lane before the end of October.

Cost for each street will be about $17,000 apiece for a total of 2,200 square feet of asphalt.

Brackenridge has $25,000 left in state liquid fuels reimbursement money and the remainder will come from borough coffers.

Officials will begin the project once it has been determined how to proceed and accept bids with liquid fuels funds.

Allegheny Valley North Council of Governments Executive Director Tom Benecki explained to council the history of the CDBG program and how the federal money reaches the county and local levels.

Benecki said that the federal sequestration is limiting money for the CDBG program and that the recreation component for the program is gone. He added that the Allegheny County Infrastructure and Tourism Fund along with funding from casino revenues remain active.

New conservator program

Solicitor Craig Alexander talked about a new program designed to get rid of blighted and abandoned structures.

The program, first explored last month, would allow an entity such as a borough government to be a court-appointed conservator of the property with the goal of rehabilitating a structure or demolishing it and eventually selling the property and getting it back on the tax rolls.

Four requirements need to be satisfied for the components of the state's Neighborhood Blight Reclamation Act to kick in:

• The house can't be legally occupied for a year

• No active marketing can have been done by a Realtor in the last six months.

• There must be no existing foreclosures

• No owner can have acquired the property in the last six months.

Alexander suggested taking the borough's worst structure and using it as a test case.

George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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