After 24 years, Bridgeville will have new mayor
Pasquale “Pat” DeBlasio and Donald Dolde stood and watched as last-minute voters trickled out. The polls had just closed for the Nov. 5 general election.
DeBlasio turned to Dolde.
“Well, mayor, soon we'll know which of us has to solve the town's problems,” he said.
“We all will,” he said.
Dolde, 74, first elected mayor in 1990, would go on to lose the election to DeBlasio after holding the seat for six terms. He said it will be hard to step away.
“To me, it's a loss. I met a lot of nice people in my run,” he said. “I have my regrets. And I wish the new mayor the best.”
DeBlasio, 50, a Republican, knows he has big shoes to fill.
“I most certainly do – very big shoes,” he said.
DeBlasio won the mayoral spot that had been held by the same Democrat for more than two decades.
“Don Dolde didn't lose this position. Bedner Farms lost him this position,” DeBlasio said, referring to the borough's recent legal battle with the Bedner Farms development.
Bedner Farms Estates is planning a real estate development on the border of Upper Saint Clair and Bridgeville. Borough officials fought a proposal for a road and sewer connection between the development and Main Street. The developer filed a lawsuit in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, and the borough settled in July.
“I believe our approach for the past 30 or so years has been a bit misguided,” he said. “That culminated with the Bedner issue.”
Dolde said he thinks the issues surrounding the fight against the development might have played some role in his election loss.
“We have a lot of problems,” he said. “They can all be solved one way or another. The key is to do what's best for Bridgeville, not what's best for any particular party — or issue. All need attention — there are a lot of them.”
Bridgeville business owner and city planning consultant Bob Fryer said it was time for a change.
“Pat has always advocated innovative and intellectual solutions for many of Bridgeville's problems,” he said. “But his recommendations were generally rejected by the Democrat majority that's controlled borough council for so many years.”
Fryer spent the months leading up to the election pushing for the Republican candidates running for mayor and borough council. He said behind his efforts is a hope these candidates can move Bridgeville forward.
“I think they better understand the importance of forming partnerships with South Fayette and Collier to solve mutual, very serious problems,” he said.
Chief among those problems, he said, is traffic congestion on Washington Pike.
“Solving that problem — or at the very least, taking steps to begin to solve it — will not only benefit Bridgeville, but South Fayette and Collier, and perhaps even more.”
It is something DeBlasio wants to tackle in his new position — working together instead of working against.
“Instead of fighting with our neighbors, we should be fighting for better roads, sewers and flood control,” he said. “We've been saying ‘no' for 30 years, but they keep developing — traffic keeps running through our town and sewage and floodwater into our basements. We need to work with our neighbors to solve these problems. That's why I ran.”
He said he isn't sure that a 24-year run is in his future.
“I'm most focused on trying to solve the problems we have today and bring the community along into the future,” he said. “I want to get something done. I want to make things better. Getting re-elected is not the focus. Doing right by the community that elected me is the focus here.”
Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or firstname.lastname@example.org.