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Fitzgerald delivers flood funds

| Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, 8:55 a.m.

Pitcairn officials are $207,000 closer to funding a flood-mitigation project along Wall Avenue. But they're also about a dozen signatures away from being able to start the work.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald presented the $207,000 check to borough officials at the Nov. 27 council meeting. Fitzgerald commended the efforts of Councilman Rollo Vecchio and other current and past council members in advancing the project over the years.

“(Vecchio) was instrumental in really staying on the county,” Fitzgerald said.

The money initially was issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection to Allegheny County, as reimbursement for a flood-mitigation project completed by county workers at Sugar Camp Park about 10 years ago, said Pitcairn Council President John Prucnal.

County officials forwarded the funding to Pitcairn last week to help pay for a concrete channel that would guide potential flood waters from Sugar Camp Park to Turtle Creek.

The DEP has agreed to contribute about $10.5 million toward the channel project, said Andy Malene, project engineer for the DEP. Pitcairn officials expect the borough to contribute about $1 million toward the project, Prucnal said.

In addition to the $207,000 received last week, borough officials are working to secure grants from the county, Prucnal said. Also, borough officials hope to offset some of the costs by having borough employees handle some of the work to reduce the amount of work awarded to contractors.

Because the channel would run alongside a number of homes on Wall Avenue, the project requires property owners' approval. A few homeowners might lose a “few feet” of their yard or a tree to make way for the channel, Prucnal said.

As of last week, there were about a dozen property owners who had yet to sign the agreement, he said.

“Some of them apparently want money, and we don't have money to give them,” Prucnal said.

A borough committee has been formed to obtain all of the signatures.

The flood-control project in Pitcairn is 60 years in the making.

Pitcairn Councilman Rollo Vecchio said cooperation between local, county and state governments in recent years has helped make the project a reality.

“That's what makes government work,” he said.

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com.

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