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Public hearing set for Ligonier YMCA expansion

| Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 9:04 p.m.

Ligonier residents concerned about the YMCA expansion project will have their voices heard at a public hearing set for 7 p.m. Sept. 16, the borough council announced during its Aug. 11 meeting.

President Robert Helterbran informed residents, if they wish to share their views on the project's requested zoning and ordinance changes, the best time to present opinions would be at the public hearing, as a court recorder will be there to note all of their concerns.

Representatives from Excela Health attended last night's meeting as well but chose not to comment on the matter.

Solicitor George Welty said he does not want to represent the council in the public hearing as he has a relationship with Commercial Bank, which made donations to the expansion project. He feels his representation would pose a conflict of interest. The council agreed to allow Attorney Daniel Hewitt to represent it since he represented the council in a previous matter and is familiar with the borough's ordinances and zoning.

Engineer Ben Faas said the expansion project's traffic study is nearly complete. He plans to consult with Ligonier Valley School Board to account for school bus traffic in the study. The council said a final report will be available for the public's viewing at the borough office prior to the public hearing.

In other news:

• Council discussed the invasive golden bamboo issue addressed at a previous meeting. Resident Leslie Nemeth expressed frustrations to council members last month about her neighbor's bamboo plants that were invading her property on East Church Street.

Council member Judy Hoffer visited Nemeth's property since that meeting and reported that the bamboo seems to have been removed from that area.

“I think (the residents) took the proper steps to rid the borough of that situation,” Hoffer said.

Council considered creating an ordinance banning the planting of bamboo unless it is planted above ground in a planter or other vessel but decided to delay making a decision on the matter for now.

“If someone in the borough has the same issue and they speak with their neighbor and nothing is done about it, then I say we should take the next move,” Helterbran said.

• Council passed a motion to support the Ligonier Valley Fire Companies' annual fundraising campaign, and council members encourage the Ligonier community and neighboring communities to make contributions to help sustain emergency services.

The campaign benefits the local volunteer fire companies in Darlington, Ligonier, Wilpen and Waterford. Each company receives an equal share of money from the donations, which goes toward operating costs and equipment purchases.

“Contributors should know the entire campaign is managed by local volunteers, so 95 percent of every donation actually gets to the fire companies,” Kim Shaffer said.

The council's next meeting will be held 7 p.m. Aug. 8.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or

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