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County grant to pay for new sidewalks in Irwin

| Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Aaron Loughner | For The Norwin Star
Irwin council is planning to replace a four-block stretch of sidewalk along Pennsylvania Avenue approaching the First Presbytarian Church, using county grant funds.
(c) 2013 Aaron Loughner
A stretch of sidewalk along Pennsylvania Avenue approaching Irwin Park. Irwin council is planning to replace a four-block stretch of sidewalk along the avenue with county grant funds. Aaron Loughner | For The Norwin Star
(c) 2013 Aaron Loughner
A stretch of sidewalk on Pennsylvania Avenue near Irwin Park. Irwin council is planning to replace a four-block stretch of sidewalk along the avenue with county grant funds. Aaron Lougner | For The Norwin Star

Irwin Council approved a plan to replace a four-block stretch of sidewalk along the southern side of Pennsylvania Avenue after receiving a grant through Westmoreland County.

The Westmoreland County Department of Planning awarded the borough $175,000 from a federal Community Development Block Grant to fix the sidewalk.

Council plans to seek bids to replace the sidewalks from Chestnut Street to the Queen of Angels Catholic School, according to council President John Cassandro.

“We'll try to do as much as we can on one side before we get started on the other side,” Cassandro said.

Engineer Lucien Bove said officials plan to remove the 8-foot-wide sidewalks and curbs and replace them with a 3-foot wide strip of grass and a 5-foot-wide sidewalk.

Bove said the grass strip not only would be aesthetically pleasing, it also would help the area absorb more storm water.

Along with the sidewalks, officials plan to replace the curbs in hopes of decreasing storm-water runoff, according to public works director Jim Halfhill.

“Over the years, the curbs have deteriorated to next to nothing, which is affecting how storm water is handled,” Halfhill said. “Without the curbs, water just runs onto the sidewalk and into yards.”

Halfhill said the borough used a similar grant to replace about four blocks of the northern side of Pennsylvania Avenue, from Chestnut Street to Spruce Street, six years ago.

Bove said he expects to receive the funding from the county by June and plans to have the project completed by the end of the summer.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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