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Scottdale parklet renovations near

| Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
For The Independent-Observer
Colleen McGuinness, a member of the parks commission in Scottdale, shows the type of benches they have chosen to be placed in the gazebo parklet once renovations are complete in the next few months.
For The Independent-Observer
This is a sample of the benches that will be placed in Scottdale's gazebo parklet once renovations are completed.

Scottdale Borough officials are preparing for renovations that will be taking place in the gazebo parklet at the corner of Pittsburgh and Spring streets in the borough.

The borough, through the Jacob's Creek Watershed Association, secured a grant for a project costing more than $150,000 that replaces the concrete around the gazebo with porous concrete and allows for the installation of some rain gardens and bio-retention ponds.

Michael Barrick, an association representative, said Silvis Landscaping out of Mt. Pleasant should have already begun some work on the project, such as cutting some of the trees that were slated for removal.

He added that the plans are to have the entire project — earth work and concrete work — completed the Friday before Memorial Day.

At a recent council meeting, Colleen Kenney, of the borough's parks commission, updated council on work to find the right bench to be placed in the park.

Borough Manager Angelo Pallone said Barrick needed to know the style of bench soon so that the contractor could build in a base, a special footer or whatever was needed to mount the benches.

Kenney told members of council they came up with the bench they did for several reasons, including easy installation. The only mounting needed is a bolt that is secured into the concrete.

She added the bench is cool to the touch, even in the sun, and it has a coating on it that protects it from cracking, fading and mildew. The steel frame is protected from rusting and any graffiti should be able to be cleaned a little more easily.

Originally, the parks commission thought they would have to spend between $1,200 and $1,600 per bench, but this bench is just a little more than $600.

Seven benches will be needed.

Originally, the parks commission hoped the grant money secured from the watershed association would be able to pay for the benches, but Barrick said at that time that it wasn't likely.

So the parks commission board members have come up with a plan to solicit donations from the public and local donations to cover at least half the cost of the benches.

Borough council President Andy Pinskey said the borough will use funds from the parks line item out of the budget to pay for the rest of the cost of the benches, stressing the general fund tax money would not pay for any more than 50 percent.

However, Barrick said there is a chance Jacobs Creek Watershed Association might have funding to cover some of the cost of the benches, but he wasn't sure how much that would be.

In other parks business, Pallone reported that Garfield Park is seeing a great increase in vandalism and suggested that the borough look into the possibility of getting video cameras to mount in the park.

“We need to start protecting our property,” he said, adding a picnic table by the basketball courts in that park was vandalized and two were stolen. The sliding board also had swear words painted all over.

There were also reports of used condoms and needles found in the park.

Although nothing was approved, council told Pallone to look into the cost of the cameras.

In other borough business, council asked their engineering firm, Widmer Engineering, to come up with a design for a new salt shed. The borough obtained a grant for this project.

Council also approved a motion to hire an additional full-time street department worker, Zack Patton, although Davis did not see any justification or need for a fourth worker.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.