Heidelberg's newest officer goes full-time

| Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, 8:51 p.m.

A Heidelberg officer is moving up.

Patrolman Antonio Buiz — now part-time — will become full-time Sept. 1 in the 11-member department. He was promoted based on his score on a Civil Service exam, Chief Vernon Barkley said on Aug. 20.

Buiz and officer Emily Bielewicz were both excellent candidates, Barkley said.

“They are both outstanding officers,” he said. “That is why it was so difficult to choose which officer to offer the job to.”

Bielewicz will get a chance to fill a full-time position the next time there is an opening, Barkley said. There are four full-time and six part-time officers, not including the chief.

Rain garden

Heidelberg has entered the flood game.

Mayor Kenneth LaSota helped the borough acquire the site of the future Loupurex Park last year. Lamar Advertising donated the property as part of an agreement to keep the company's billboards on the land.

The park is three blocks long and 125 feet wide, LaSota said it will to serve as a rain garden, which will absorb water and possibly help reduce flooding.

The property, located off Railroad Street, will catch water draining off the highest points in Heidelberg before it reaches Route 50.

Converting the park into a rain garden requires a lot of plants, LaSota said.

“You have to have plants that can withstanding lots of water and can absorb lots of salt that runs off into the street,” he said.

Because the borough now owns the land, they will be able to seek grants to improve the property.

“Down the road we can have access to additional grant money to maintain and improve the park,” he said.

The borough also will also have install a system to divert water from the streets into the park.

The plan is to have part of the project done this year, and finished next year.

LaSota said he got the idea for a rain garden after attending a gathering for the Western Pennsylvania Land Trust, a nonprofit group that promotes preservation of open space.

David Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5804 or dpaulk@tribweb.com.

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