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Town-hall type meeting eyed to help improve 3 Monongahela Valley towns

| Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

When Monongahela and New Eagle approved an extension of the contract under which city officers patrol the neighboring borough, it underscored a longstanding spirit of cooperation between the communities.

Now the Monongahela Area Chamber is hoping to capitalize on some of that spirit.

When the chamber hosts a 2014 Tri-Community Kickoff Membership/Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, the theme will be business unity and community.

Free and open to the public, the session will have a town meeting flavor, with a question-and-answer session open to the public.

The meeting will begin 6:30 p.m. in the Monongahela Valley Hospital Education Conference Center in Carroll Township.

It will be preceded by a social with appetizers, music and a wine bar by Ripepi Winery at 5:30 p.m.

“I am not certain that everyone understands the role of our chamber in the three communities and the potential for the future, so we are hoping that many come out and participate,” said chamber president Anthony Bottino.

“This is home for us as well as many of our businesses,” Bottino said. “We are always excited about working together to make it better. We believe that the quality of life in a small community is better than anywhere else and we're committed to its success.”

Bottino said the session will offer a forum to “open up communication between government, business and the community.”

The mayors of Monongahela and New Eagle as well as at least one member of the Carroll Township board of supervisors will speak briefly about their plans for the future and how they see the communities working together.

State Sen. Tim Solobay and state Rep. Pete Daley will speak on “the state's role in planning our future and offer their thoughts and vision,” Bottino said.

“We want to have a town forum where people can ask questions that pertain to the community,” Bottino said.

“We'd like people to come and learn more about the chamber,” he added. “Our goal is always to help our members.”

The chamber's goals will be presented and the chamber's board of directors and officers for 2014 will be introduced at the session.

Bottino said a focus will be on what's needed along the Route 88 corridor and in the communities themselves.

“We want to see them progress and get better,” Bottino said. “We have great communities, but there's a lot of unrealized potential.

“We want to start the year off right, get some visions on the table, get people collaborating.”

Bottino said the business district that runs from Carroll to Monongahela to New Eagle “has a lot of potential.”

“With more collaboration, we can discuss how to make this corridor become more of a destination area,” he said. “We've had some success, but there's more we can do.”

Bottino said while the business district is growing, there are still storefronts available.

“There's things happening but, if you look at whole corridor, there's lots of room,” Bottino said. “We have to work hard; we have to work together. We have potential here, but in my opinion it's going too slow.

“We have to get people together and get excited.”

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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