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Business owners in Heidelberg encouraged to improve buildings

| Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Heidelberg has a new member of its civil service commission after a voting meeting April 16.

Borough council and Mayor Ken LaSota appointed John Mahalchak to the commission Tuesday to fill a term that runs until 2015.

The civil service commission completes the hiring and promotion process for full-time police officers in the borough. It also oversees hearings involving police disciplinary actions.

LaSota said the commission consists of three or four borough residents who not only come up with their own guidelines and bylaws, but also must incorporate guidelines and bylaws from the state. Residents must apply through the borough council.

Mahalchak “sent in his resume and the council president nominated him,” LaSota said. “At Tuesday's meeting, I read him his oath of office.”

Mahalchak is a member of the Heidelberg Volunteer Fire Department and chairman of the borough's planning commission.

Facelift

The borough council has been involved in ongoing efforts to breathe new life into the East Railroad Street area, and an effort passed at Tuesday's meeting will help residents and businesses along the street improve their properties as well.

A fund dedicated by the mayor and council members will accept applications for a matching grant up to $1,000 for “general façade improvements.”

LaSota said the program is part of the $2.5 million Route 50 beautification project.

“To augment that, council is setting aside this money for people and businesses along Route 50 to spruce up and improve their buildings' facades,” he said.

To receive the maximum matching grant of $1,000, property owners must spend at least $1,000 themselves.

“It's a small way to encourage them to improve their buildings,” LaSota said.

Eligible projects include exterior painting or lighting, planters, new signage, window boxes or awnings. A committee of borough residents, including LaSota, has been established to review applications.

Grants would be awarded until the program budget runs out. Councilman Ray Losego encouraged eligible property owners to seek quotes and submit their applications as possible.

Application forms and guidelines can be found at www.heidelbergborough.com.

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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