Ford City High School's future worries council
Ford City Council wants to start making plans for Ford City High School before Armstrong School District potentially decides the fate of the closing building for them.
Mayor Marc Mantini said there should already be communication between the borough and district regarding the future of the building along Fourth Avenue. ASD plans to shut down the building, along with Kittanning Senior High and Kittanning Junior High before the district's new high school opens in Manor Township in 2015.
“This is a serious dislocation not just for Ford City but (also for) Kittanning,” Mantini said. “And I don't know if the school board has had the decency to contact any elected officials in Kittanning or Ford City.”
Council President Lou Vergari said he was unaware of any communications from ASD, but members of council had met with Mike Coonley, executive director of the Armstrong County Department of Economic Development, regarding the issue.
Council member Jerry Miklos said Coonley recommended the borough attempt to gain control of the building and apply for it to become a Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone (KOEZ). That designation would provide significant state and local tax benefits to the owner along with priority for state and local community-building assistance programs.
“That means (there won't be) taxes (collected) from the building or property for ‘x' number of years,” said Miklos. “Hopefully, this would give someone incentive to purchase and develop the property.”
But Vergari, who said the site would be tax-free for 10 years, believes the first step for the borough will be to attempt to secure the building from ASD.
“Some people say, ‘No, that building is in bad shape and so on and so forth,' ” said Vergari. “I'm not doubting that. But I'd rather have that building in the hands of the borough ... That way, we could sell it to somebody, make it a park or do anything with it. If someone wants to build something on it, we're open to sell it. But if we don't do anything, the school could just sit there.”
Miklos said council should seek public input on the future of the building and possibly hold a town meeting on the matter.
“We're running out of time,” he said. “The county told us the decision (about applying for KOEZ status) needed to be made before the school board meeting in August.”
The issue was tabled for further discussion.
In other news:
• Council unanimously voted to apply for a Penn-Works grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development for work on its new water treatment facility. Kevin Smyth, an inspector with Garvin Engineering & Municipal Management, said the grant could net the borough $900,000 — or about 75 percent of the total $1.2 million project cost. The other 25 percent would be covered by a $300,000 loan from S&T Bank.
• Parks and Recreation committee member Stacy Klukan said something needs to be done about cracks in the borough walking trail. She said she heard reports of residents tripping on the pavement, which was just placed in 2011. “We have to make sure we keep that trail safe for everyone's use,” said Klukan. “Especially for rollerbladers and older adults who are using it, too.”
Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Inflatables bring joy to North Buffalo child’s world
- Armstrong contributes to project to replace Kittanning retaining wall
- Fire marshal rules arson in Kittanning blaze
- Kittanning, Kiski police getting trained to help abuse victims
- Armstrong County Jail commitments since Dec. 13
- Crash leaves Burrell Township family without father, friend
- Teachers at 2 Armstrong schools go casual for a cause
- Family escapes house fire in Kittanning
- South Buffalo church nears end of more than a century of worship
- Police probe Kittanning Cemetery scam
- Armstrong County adopts $20.7 million budget, maintains tax rate