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Jeannette Community Action Team gets improvement projects underway

| Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, 9:03 p.m.
Margie Stanislaw | The Jeannette Spirit
Diana Reitz and Tay Waltenbaugh discuss vinyl window coverings for the vacant downtown buildings.
Margie Stanislaw | The Jeannette Spirit
Joanne Billheimer, Judy Soles and Joe and Jean Yorio listen to Tay Waltenbaugh discuss upcoming projects for the Neighborhood Partnership Program.
Margie Stanislaw | The Jeannette Spirit
Clay Avenue business owners Chris Heckman and John Scalzitti are seated beside Community Development Director Diana Reitz as they listen to discussion at an NPP meeting. Heckman is a partner in a day spa that will open on Clay Avenue and Scalzitti is owner of Bella Mimi’s.

Installation of exterior vinyl window coverings is just one of the things that the Jeannette Community Action Team, part of the Neighborhood Partnership Program, have discussed.

Tay Waltenbaugh of Westmoreland Community Action, who is overseeing the group also officially, urged team members to take a look at the vinyl window coverings on Greensburg's Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, which were put up by Go Greensburg, a community development organization.

“Go Greensburg worked with the art department at Seton Hill University to develop an art-themed logo for the vinyl coverings,” said Diana Reitz, Jeannette's community development director. “One building was in disarray, but they put the vinyl film over the windows and, within a week, sales interest was being generated.”

Signstat in Jeannette worked on the window project in Greensburg.

The group is also talking about projects for Clay Avenue, including hanging plants on the light poles. Some kind of plan will need to be made to water those plants during the summer months. Watering equipment will be purchased through NPP, but help is going to be needed for the work to water and care for the plants.

The Master Gardeners from Penn State Extension will be contacted for guidance on types of flowers and plantings.

Other issues under discussion within the Community Action Team include sidewalks, an amphitheater, a large sign or billboard on Route 30, and the demolition of vacant properties. The group discussed breaking into committees. Laura Smith volunteered to be the coordinator for Clay Avenue Activities.

“We can do it, said Smith. “We just have to get everybody revved.”

Nancy Peters, who is retiring in a few weeks as the city's recreation director, will help with the playground and recreation committee.

Waltenbaugh said he will have a presentation at the next meeting about a “food hub” (such as a grocery store) and laundromat that could be located in Jeannette.

“You've got to spend money to make the town look better,” said school board president Joe Yorio, who has attended meetings since the team started earlier this year. “The better it looks the more people will get involved. You have to start small. We have more (people) at every meeting.”

The next meeting date has not yet been announced.

Waltenbaugh has committed $1,000 to this year's Christmas lights, if needed. Waltenbaugh has talked to Lenny Galante, who is helping Rob Fejes with the lights this year, about looking through some catalogs at a later date to see about purchasing some new lighting equipment for next year's displays. Help will be needed throughout the holiday season with the lights. Anyone who wishes to volunteer can message the Jeannette Business Association Facebook page with contact information.

Margie Stanislaw is a contributing writer.