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Council designates Penn Hills parks as smoke-free

| Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Penn Hills Progress
Members of the Penn Hills High cheerleading squad perform at Unity in the Community in August 2013 at Penn Hills Community Park. Penn Hills council passed a new ordinance Feb. 3 banning tobacco use in all of the municipal parks.

Councilman Gary Underwood is happy that a new ordinance designates Penn Hills parks, picnic areas, playgrounds and parking lots as smoke-free, but he had one question.

“I want to make sure you're aware, I'm totally in favor of this ordinance,” Underwood said during the Feb. 3 council meeting. “However, who's going to enforce it?”

Ideally, police would enforce the ordinance, according to Parks and Recreation Supervisor John Scaglione.

But with other, more-pressing items on officers' plates, Scaglione said, he hopes residents will follow the new rules without having to be cited.

“We don't allow dogs in the park — we have signs posted, and people don't bring dogs there,” Scaglione said. “So we're hopeful this will work in the same way.

“I think the fact that the signage will be there is a good deterrent. And if someone does end up being cited by the police, that will probably serve as an even better deterrent,” he said.

Scaglione said he is awaiting final word from municipal officials about the cost of a citation.

Council voted unanimously to approve the ordinance.

Other business

• A Greensburg real estate company representing “a national retail firm” has acquired the former municipal public works garage property on Frankstown Road.

Timothy Weinman, president of Penntex Ventures, said the company is not prepared to comment yet on development plans, but has purchased 12818 Frankstown Road for $230,000.

The property is just less than 1.4 acres, and has belonged to the municipality since 1962.

• The municipality will apply for financial assistance to help defray costs associated with the storm that wreaked havoc on June 26 in Western Pennsylvania.

The storm downed power lines and trees, stranded cars in flooded roadways and knocked out electricity to thousands of households throughout the region.

Penn Hills Manager Moe Rayan said he will request around $42,000 in reimbursement from the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to help offset costs of labor, equipment and materials involved in dealing with the aftermath of the storm.

• PNC Bank spokeswoman Marcey Zwiebel confirmed Rayan's mention at the council meeting that PNC will be expanding onto the former property of Morgan's Restaurant in the Penn Hills Center shopping plaza. Zwiebel said the old Morgan's building will be torn down, and PNC will add parking and an additional automated teller machine.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

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