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Forward Thinking: Changes could come to Sewickley Valley in new year

As 2013 comes to a close, the Sewickley Herald’s “Forward Thinking” series will look ahead at the coming year throughout the Sewickley Valley.

Local government (Dec. 12)

Culture (Dec. 19)

• Education (Dec. 26)

Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

From the potential addition of a borough manager in one community, to the consideration of increased parking and beautification in others, next year could bring changes for municipal leaders in the Sewickley Valley.

Some Leetsdale leaders had intended to hire a borough manager this year, but concern among residents and some council members delayed that process, council President Joe McGurk said.

“We still believe there should be a borough manager that will replace (borough secretary Elizabeth Petalino),” McGurk said.

McGurk said current council members didn't want to “force something” through before the new year when new elected leaders will join council in January.

“We will wait until the new people are seated and see where we want to go,” he said.

“We will be striving to get a borough manager on board by some time in the middle of 2014. If everybody doesn't agree, there will be a discussion.”

A proposal in Sewickley to consider increasing on-street parking and add a garage as early as next year was delayed after borough leaders weren't sure how the structure could be paid for.

“Until we figure out how the users are going to pay for it, it's on the back burner,” Mayor Brian Jeffe said.

The proposed garage would be built on property the borough purchased this year in the 400 block of Walnut Street. It would replace the Green Street public lot and be situated near a nonprofit group's desire to build a two-screen movie theater also on the same property owned by the borough.

No money is allocated in the 2014 budget for building a garage, Jeffe said.

But borough leaders say they hope a parking needs analysis will help determine the future needs of parking within the business district.

Borough Manager Kevin Flannery said he is hopeful the work would be completed by Jan. 31. He said council members could discuss the results as early as a regularly scheduled February meeting.

Part of the study included a public meeting hosted by a consultant from Chicago-based Kimley-Horn and Associates.

The firm was hired last month to conduct a parking needs analysis at a cost of $25,700.

As plans for parking are ironed out next year, leaders of Village Green Partners — a nonprofit group whose goal is to market the business district — say they are working to continue awareness of what Sewickley retailers offer.

Organizers say their efforts for next year include diversifying funding and continuing to reach new potential shoppers.

“The point is to build the awareness of Sewickley and let people know it is here,” Village Green Partners co-founder Jennifer Markus said.

Public beautification is one of the focus points next year for Glen Osborne leaders, mayor-elect Barbara Carrier said.

Leaders there will continue working on a plan to spruce up the Route 65 corridor. The plan is part of a multi-municipal effort with Edgeworth and Sewickley leaders, Carrier said.

A public meeting planned for 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 8 at Osborne Elementary School will allow for residents to hear about beautification plans, Carrier said.

Council leaders could vote on a plan next month.

Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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