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Grant awarded for Carnegie Park updates

| Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Carnegie received a grant of nearly $200,000 last week from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to put toward Carnegie Park renovations, but the borough will have to match that amount.

“The good news is that Phase II of Carnegie Park will be happening,” Carnegie Councilman Pat Catena said at a Dec. 9 council meeting. “But we need to come up with about $160,000 next year – we have to come up with the whole amount over three years, and most of it needs to come next year.”

The full grant is for $199,000.

The money is part of more than $38 million that the department is earmarking toward 201 communities, municipal authorities and nonprofits. Carnegie's grant will go toward work on a hockey rink and tennis courts, moving the basketball courts and installing fence lighting, landscaping and new signage.

Council President Rick D'Loss said council is going to do everything possible to meet the terms of accepting the grant. He said he wants to clarify with engineers that the bulk of the matching funds must be paid next year.

Council is proposing a nearly 10 percent increase to the borough property tax rate, from 6.23 to 6.83 mills, and D'Loss said the money needed to match the grant is built into that increase.

“It was not originally in the millage increase, and we thought we could go with a .4 mill increase,” he said. “But that money is built into that .6 increase.”

Borough Manager Stephen Beuter said other projects could be held off, in order to free funds to match the grant.

“You can't pass that up, especially with Phase II being the biggest portion of the project,” he said, referring to the park improvements. “Other projects can be postponed or pushed back another year.”

The schedule for Phase II, as prepared by borough engineering firm KLH Engineering, begins in the spring with demolition of the current basketball court and replacement of a retaining wall.

The rest of the 2014 schedule includes building an access road and parking, and beginning the main part of the construction: hockey rink and tennis court renovations, basketball court relocation, disc golf course construction, sidewalk construction and work on storm water facilities.

The main construction projects will carry over into 2015. The Phase II project is slated to end in 2016.

In order to stay on schedule, the borough must come up with three amounts in matching funds for 2014: $98,065 for paving, $22,605 for retaining wall materials and $40,138 for engineering and design.

Catena said the borough must provide the matching funds.

“We've made too much progress at the park, and we don't want to lose that,” Catena said. “It's a miracle we got this Phase II park money. We can't throw away $200,000.”

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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