4 seats on Aspinwall Council open, 5 candidates in the mix
Five candidates are vying for four spots on Aspinwall Council in the Nov. 5 municipal election.
Incumbents Mark Ellermeyer, a Democrat, and Joe Noro, a Republican, are seeking re-election. Ann Pawlikowski and Ann Marsico, both Republicans, and Jay Arnone, a Democrat, are trying to win their first terms. Councilman Joe Gass is not seeking re-election and Councilman Joe Giuffre, a Democrat, is running unopposed for mayor and is on both parties' ballots.
Ellermeyer, 43, is seeking his second four-year term. The current council president said his focus since he has been in office has been to continue making Aspinwall a great community.
“Aspinwall's a great town, but we have to keep looking for ways to make it better,” Ellermeyer said.
The continued development of the Aspinwall Riverfront Park, a possible bicycle trail through the borough and a walking loop involving neighboring communities are several projects Ellermeyer, a contractor, hopes to work on in the next four years.
Ellermeyer also said he hopes PennDOT will try to make improvements to Freeport Road. He said the stretch that comes through Aspinwall could be similar to what exists in Sharpsburg, where the speed limit is slower and there is more parking for businesses.
“If we could get them to take a fresh look at it, my thinking is it might yield something that's more effective for the needs of the town and our residents and much safer,” Ellermeyer said.
After serving 11 years on the borough's planning commission, where she is currently the secretary, Marsico said, she wants to get more involved in the borough.
“I felt like it was time to get more involved in the community and be more involved in the decision- making process of the borough,” Marsico said.
Marsico, 42, an occupational therapist and director of occupational therapy for the center for rehab services at UPMC St. Margaret, near Aspinwall, said she wants to keep the financial integrity of the borough in good shape. She said she also would like to see the community become more environmentally friendly.
If elected, she said, improving the borough's infrastructure will be a priority. She noted that the borough has had several water-main breaks.
“It's just a very old infrastructure that we really need to maybe put a little more focus on,” Marsico said.
Noro, 55, is a longtime councilman. He said he thinks there is unfinished business for officials to complete.
“Infrastructure is the No. 1 priority,” Noro said. “There's a lot to do yet.”
Noro, a plant and safety manager for Schneider's Dairy, said that work will include replacing water lines, water meters and fixing roads in the borough. He said he has worked to get those improvements started during his time on council.
The work of the Shade Tree Commission also is a point of pride for Noro, who currently is the head of the environmental services committee. The borough has started replanting trees that were removed in recent years.
“It's real important to take down the unsafe trees and put up new trees for the future,” Noro said.
Noro said officials work to do what's best for the community, regardless of political affiliation and without fighting, something he also is proud of.
“We're able to all work together,” Noro said.
Pawlikowski, 49, is the current chairwoman of the Shade Tree Commission. A resident of Aspinwall for more than 25 years, she said she wants to be more involved in the community and decided it was time to run for office.
She said she is glad the current council has shown fiscal responsibility and wants to be a part of the good work the borough has done.
“I'd just like to be a part of continuing that,” Pawlikowski said.
Infrastructure improvements will be a major topic of discussion if she's elected for the four-year term. She also said she would like to continue the work done by the Shade Tree Commission during its four years of existence.
Besides her work with the commission, she also has volunteered with the school at St. Scholastica Parish and was on the finance committee as part of the Foxwall Emergency Medical Service board of directors.
Pawlikowski said that if elected, she wants to support the volunteer organizations that help make Aspinwall a positive place.
“It just makes it such a desirable community to live in,” she said.
Arone did not respond to messages seeking comment. He previously ran for council in 2009 and did not win.
Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.