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Greensburg health care district one step closer to fruition

| Thursday, May 16, 2013, 7:57 p.m.

Greensburg City Council has selected a consultant to create a health care district for the 5th and 6th wards.

Council on Monday approved a contract with Urban Design Associates.

Greensburg officials want the district to spark development and to “enhance the charm and character of the residential neighborhoods,” according to the proposal.

Urban, which will be working with Fourth Economy Consulting of Pittsburgh, will be paid $85,000 from grant and foundation money, said Steve Gifford, executive director of the Greensburg Community Development Corp., which is involved in the project.

The planning experts will help define the boundaries for the health care district and set goals.

Urban will lead three public meetings to be held as part of the process and to determine land uses in the areas, such as residential, commercial and large development, Gifford said.

Fourth Economy will determine how parcels can best be used, such as rehabilitating a vacant house or demolishing it and building on that land, Gifford said.

The health care designation could shorten the zoning process for developers, making construction easier for higher education and medical facilities and others.

In another matter, Christine Shank of Kenmore Avenue asked council about when the Northmont flood control project would start.

“We've had three floods in 30 years, which is three too many,” she said.

“We're waiting on Harrisburg to approve the final design,” city administrator Sue Trout replied.

The work has been on the drawing board for decades. Heavy rains in August 2007 renewed interest in the project, but work forecasted to start over the last few years has not happened.

The project would limit flooding for at least 15 homes in an area that includes Northmont, Kenneth, Kenmore and Beaver streets.

State officials earmarked $3.6 million for design, construction, inspection and utility relocation.

In another matter, council awarded a contract to Swank Construction of New Kensington to mill city streets. Swank's $23,391 bid was the lowest submitted by four companies.

City leaders plan on milling 16,132 square yards of streets and then have city crews resurface them.

Swank must have the work done before July 13, and city crews should begin paving shortly after that, said road superintendent Rick Hoyle.

City officials plan on doing all or sections of Hawthorne, Liberty, Grove and Ludwick streets, Harrison, Lincoln and Madison avenues and Hawksworth Road.

The city is using Community Development Block Grant funds to pay for the milling and paving materials.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 56 has agreed to a city request not to fill a vacant police position until January 2016.

Lt. Chad Zucco's promotion to captain created a vacancy, Trout said.

In other matters, council reappointed Brian Lawrence, David Kahley and Anita Simpson to the city planning commission. Their terms end in May 2017.

Council further approved purchase of a brush chipper for the public works department.

Council is using a $34,704 grant from the state Department of Environment Protection to help pay for the equipment. The city will pay $3,856, Trout said.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or