Younger DeBlasio takes different approach as Bridgeville mayor
Public service, as well as accounting, run in DeBlasio blood.
Pasquale V. DeBlasio was Bridgeville's mayor from 1978 to 1986. His son, Pasquale B., took office as the borough's mayor in January after unseating six-term incumbent Don Dolde in the November election.
“Our approaches are different,” the younger DeBlasio said of his father. “But some of the problems are the same. We both think regionally.”
The father and son also run DeBlasio & DeBlasio Associates, a certified public accounting firm on Washington Avenue in Bridgeville's business district. Janet DeBlasio, the current mayor's mother, founded the firm.
Glenn Schillo, president of the Rotary Club of Bridgeville-South Fayette, knows both men.
“I've known the senior DeBlasio for years through church,” Schillo said, calling him a friend. As a lawyer, Schillo said, he's known the current mayor through business and always has found him to be “congenial and professional.”
During the elder DeBlasio's tenure as mayor, traffic problems along Washington Avenue and other main roads were a frequent topic. They remain an issue today.
PennDOT widened Washington Avenue in 2002 with some properties acquired through eminent domain. Also, bridges at both ends of the business district were replaced with new spans, and in the middle, a bridge over an abandoned railroad line was removed, ground underneath was filled in and this became part of the road.
The improvements that Bridgeville leaders pushed for helped to provide better access to local businesses, the elder DeBlasio recalled. Officials at the time worried about local traffic going around Bridgeville, as motorists bypassed the town via Interstate 79.
“The city is like the heart in a body,” said the elder DeBlasio, 77. “The economic lifeblood of any metropolis is there, and roads are a part of that. If the coronary arteries get stuffed, the body gets no oxygen and nutrients.”
Traffic problems remain, he said, although there will be changes at the south end of Washington Avenue to accommodate commercial development in the Newbury complex in South Fayette. Bridgeville, Upper St. Clair and South Fayette officials will work with PennDOT on a traffic study, he said.
More work is needed at the north end of Washington Avenue, which is two lanes with lots of utility poles and a railroad bridge, he said.
“These are not short-term,” the younger DeBlasio, 50, said of traffic issues in Bridgeville. “It'll take years to solve them, and it must be done by the community as a whole.”
The current mayor said he will continue to seek solutions to flooding problems. Dredging has been done at the confluence of Chartiers Creek and McLaughlin Run, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been asked to study Chartiers Creek's tributaries.
During his tenure, the elder DeBlasio also worked to convince council that a professional borough manager was needed. “Running a million-dollar business was not a place, even for a CPA,” he said. Ernest McNeely was hired in 1980 as the first manager.
Four months into his term, the younger DeBlasio said he is happiest on days when he can honor residents who have given their best to the community.
By mayoral proclamation, for example, April 23 was designated as Bill Davis Day. Davis, who died April 14, was a Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Department member for 57 years.
He said former mayors have offered him assistance and advice. In addition to his father, Felix Martincic and Dolde held the office in recent years.
“This is your tenure, your office,” he said he was told by Dolde and his father. “Do what you think is right.”
Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or firstname.lastname@example.org.