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Cameras to put the brakes on curb-jumping

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More than $10,000 worth of damage has been done to the Diamond in the last few years

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Jewels Phraner
Thursday, March 21, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
 

Ligonier Borough officials will spend about $4,800 on a new security system intended to help curb damage to the Diamond by vehicles jumping the curb while navigating the roundabout.

Officials have mulled changing the shape and size of the Diamond, installing taller curbs and strategically placing boulders in the grassy quadrants of the picturesque hub of the borough.

Errant motorists have caused more than $10,000 worth of damage to the Diamond in the last few years, public works director Paul Fry said.

The concrete curb lining its circumference is chipped and cracked. Deep, muddy ruts mar the grass at some curves and the brickwork has been destroyed in some areas.

In September 2011, a tractor-trailer drove over the curb and crushed a utility box, causing $7,000 worth of damage.

Councilman Jim McDonnell said borough officials met with representatives of Greensburg-based Rampart Security Systems to look into the new surveillance system.

“The zoom capability on these cameras is very impressive,” McDonnell reported at last week's council meeting. “For example, a camera on Town Hall could zoom across the Diamond and focus in on someone's speedometer.”

There are now four cameras on Town Hall and the package of four new cameras that council members approved March 14 can either replace those four, or be placed elsewhere.

“You can see all four quadrants now, but when the dogwoods are in bloom, we're probably not going to be able to see a license plate,” Fry said.

Another alternative is to forge an agreement that allows the borough to install and access a camera on a building on the West Main Street side of the traffic circle.

McDonnell suggested placing bollards — steel, concrete-filled, decorative poles secured into the ground — in strategic areas of the Diamond.

“I'd be willing to exchange my boulder idea for these bollards,” he said. “Cameras aren't going to prevent who's going up there. You'll be able to see who it is that's causing the damage, chase them down and seek compensation for the damages, but it won't protect the Diamond. Bollards would protect the Diamond.”

Councilwoman Kim Shaffer said she hopes that after the cameras assist in sending out the first few citations for damaging the Diamond, word will get around among the trucking community.

“I'd rather try this first than put something over there,” she said. “If this doesn't work, we can always talk about adding something over there later.”

The camera system includes a new video recording system, compatible with the higher-quality cameras, which could accomodate four aadditional cameras in the future.

Jewels Phraner is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or jphraner@tribweb.com.

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