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Committee to focus on attracting businesses to Plum

| Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Plum Advance Leader
Uncle Buckles Restaurant in Plum is closed. The restaurant on Unity Center Road had been open for about one year.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Plum Advance Leader
Uncle Buckles Restaurant in Plum is closed. The restaurant on Unity Center Road had been open for about one year.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Plum Advance Leader
Uncle Buckles Restaurant in Plum is closed. The restaurant on Unity Center Road had been open for about one year.

Economic development in Plum is Dave Vento's passion in public service.

As a councilman from 2000 through 2004 and again from 2006 to 2010, Vento worked on initiatives including a tax abatement program that has the goal of attracting commercial development. Council approved the measure in 2010.

Vento was re-elected in November and, once again, is focusing on bringing more businesses to Plum through his post as economic development committee chairman.

Vento in the next month intends to form a committee that is to include community members and business owners to brainstorm ideas to move development forward borough-wide.

”I want input from people in the community and business leaders,” said Vento who added the potential tax revenue from commercial development would help ease the tax burden on residents.

One of Vento's initiatives continues to be additional development on the borough-owned property off Renton Road — home to the new public works facility.

Vento also would push state government officials to proceed with plans to widen Route 286 and would work to get more state grant money.

“I am going to work to get it (widening Route 286) back on the project schedule,” Vento said.

Vento also envisions sidewalks on the road so that people can walk to businesses.

The councilman also would like to see a new business in the former Uncle Buckles Bar & Grille on Unity Center Road near the intersection with Saltsburg Road.

Owner Steve Cioppa of Plum said he continues to look for a buyer for the building. Cioppa opened the sports bar in March 2012 and closed it in August 2013.

“Definitely, people are interested,” said Cioppa, who also owns Phase One Development Corp., an asbestos abatement company in the borough.

Cioppa said he thought he had a buyer when he closed up shop last summer. Doug Baros, owner of Burgerz & Dogz in South Park had planned to buy the building, Cioppa said.

“He couldn't get the money,” said Cioppa, who added that most of those interested in the building would intend to use it for a restaurant/bar.

Cioppa purchased the former Schroeder Engineering for $200,000 in 2008 and made extensive renovations including building a retaining wall behind the building and adding an awning-covered patio with seating for 60. The original engineering building's garage door leads to the patio area.

“He (Cioppa) did some nice improvements to the building,” Vento said.

“Whoever goes in there should do well. There is a lot of traffic through there, and the parking lot was adjusted in size.”

Vento also wants to concentrate on marketing the riverfront area of Plum known as Barking.

“We need to attract people to Plum Borough,” Vento said.

“It is the best little jewel, and people don't know about it.”

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8753 or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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