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Ford City takes no action on request to repair damaged fence

| Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

FORD CITY — Council may explore options to repair or replace damaged fence around the John B. Ford statue in Ford City Park.

Monday night, Parks and Recreation Committee member Bill Oleksak reminded council it previously voted to restore the fence even before a large tree toppled onto it during a storm in January.

“In October, we came to you with a request to fix the fence,” Oleksak said.

“The plan we originally had was going to cost us about $100, but things have changed now since the tree fell on the fence.”

The previously approved plan included removing overgrown bushes from around the monuments and filling the void with topsoil; sandblasting, straightening and painting wrought iron fencing and repairing or replacing lights at a flagpole and the war memorial. However, the fence sustained significant damage during the January storm.

Jen Ray of Manor, who regularly attends the committee's meetings, said she contacted the PPG Industries Foundation about a possible grant to restore the statue area. Ford founded the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company in 1883.

“If it wasn't for him, there wouldn't be a PPG,” said Ray, noting that a representative of the foundation told her obtaining a grant for the work might be possible if PPG retirees volunteer on the project.

Ray also suggested replacing the fence across the front of the statue with hedges or moving other fencing from within the park.

Although council came to no conclusions, Oleksak said the issue is symptomatic of a larger problem.

“We had no council representation at our meeting, so we had nobody to ask,” said Oleksak.

“It's important we have some representation by council at our meetings because we can't do anything without you guys there.”

Council president Lou Vergari agreed and said a council member will try to be at the committee's next meeting in April. “That has to be taken care of,” Vergari said.

In an unrelated matter, Oleksak also brought up a discussion from the last council meeting about the potential hiring of summer playground supervisors for borough playgrounds.

During that meeting, Councilman Jerry Miklos said the hirings would be a waste of tax revenue, but Oleksak said there is a way to ensure the money goes to good use.

“What we would like to do with your permission is to meet with the young people you hire and compile some craft activities and things they could do maybe on a weekly basis,” said Oleksak. “We'd like to make their jobs a little bit more meaningful and maybe even have them write out reports as to what they do so we can justify those jobs.”

In other news:

• Recently hired borough engineer James Garvin said he received oral commitment from S&T Bank to approve a loan to build a new water treatment plant. In February, Garvin said the loan would be for $112,000. “Ford City should anticipate a written commitment letter this week,” he said. “It was for a loan offer for the entire amount we requested.”

• Vergari said garbage pick-up this week will be on Thursday instead of Friday which is the Good Friday holiday. Street sweeping operations also will begin on April 4. Schedules are available at the borough office.

• Council unanimously approved a motion to move the date of the Ford City Renaissance Community Partnership's annual “Motoring Memories” Car Cruise at Ford City Park from a previously approved date in May to June 15. Partnership member Paul Klukan said the date needs to change in order to have use of the State Farm Insurance impaired driving Safety SIMulator.

Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303 or

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