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Adopt-A-Block could come to City of Jeannette

| Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Margie Stanislaw | The Jeannette Spirit
Dave and Lori Cochran, of Cochran Heating and Cooling, listen as questions are asked during their presentation on the potential of brining the Adopt-A-Block Program to Jeannette.

This summer, a group of Jeannette residents met at City Hall to discuss an Adopt-A-Block Program with Dave and Lori Cochran.

The Cochrans own Cochran Heating and Cooling on Harrison Avenue in Jeannette and have recently purchased and renovated the old laundromat on Lowry Avenue. The Cochran business will move to this space and there will be rental spaces available for offices.

Adopt-A-Block programs can be seen all over North America and nearby, the community of Blairsville on the Indiana/Westmoreland county border has instituted a similar program.

The basis of the program is that businesses, individuals or families adopt a city block or blocks, or maybe a park or other public area and pledge to maintain it. There would be incentives and perks to help make this type of plan successful.

A plan for Jeannette is in the works, led by the Cochrans, but there is nothing set in stone. Any plan will depend on volunteer participation to get things up and running.

Dave Cochran met with the Jeannette Business Association last week to recruit more committee members.

Cochran said he has “3,000 customers just within the City of Jeannette” so any improvements to the city would be a benefit to his business. “Downtown is looking great,” he said, but expressed concern about the entrances to the city, including Lowry Avenue.

“It needs some lipstick and rouge,” said Lori Cochran.

Dave Cochran said the program could work in several different ways. One way would be that a business, family or individual could donate a set amount of funds to adopt a specific area and then provide time and labor to make sure that tasks like weeding, painting and flower planting are completed.

The donated money could be used to provide signage recognizing their efforts but could also go to fund other groups that might help with the maintenance such as Boy or Girl Scouts or church groups. In other words, groups in Jeannette that need to raise funds could adopt-a-block and receive a donation in return. This could be something in which Jeannette School District groups, church youth groups and Scout troops could all participate.

“Cochran heating will donate $1,000 tomorrow and it's a tax write off,” said Cochran.

Mayor Richard Jacobelli said he would like to see door knob hangers, so that everyone could be invited to participate in the program.

“The overall appearance (of the city) requires the regular residents cleaning up too,” said Jacobelli.

“There is a lot of leg work that has to be done to work this out.” said Cochran. “We might not be able to get this in full swing until spring, but it will not only help my business, it will help every business in town.”

The challenges to the program, according to Cochran, will be getting organized, purchasing materials and listing the tasks to be completed.

The Adopt-A-Block meeting was held just before a Neighborhood Partnership Program and Community Action Team meeting because all three groups share the goal of working toward an image change in Jeannette.

Anyone who would like to join the committee, make a donation or be involved in the planning should call Cochran at 724-527-3953.

Margie Stanislaw is a contributing writer.