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Ford City Council discusses cleanup at Boulder Park

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 1:01 a.m.

FORD CITY — A discussion before borough council at Monday's meeting was initiated by a 10-year-old boy.

Ernest Rosenberger told council that he and some friends were playing in Boulder Park at the end of Sixth Avenue about a week ago and entered the wooded hillside next to the park to build a fort. While on the hillside, Rosenberger said, he slipped and lacerated his finger on broken glass.

He discovered that the entire hillside is littered with broken bottles and old cans and poses a danger to anyone on the hillside, a popular play area for children.

Council member Jerry Miklos, who introduced Rosenberger to council, said he inspected the area and found an abundance of broken beer bottles and old cans, presumably tossed from vehicles passing on Route 66 just above the hillside. Miklos and Mayor Marc Mantini agreed that the hillside needs cleaning, but Miklos wondered how often such work would be necessary.

Rosenberger asked whether a “no littering” sign could be posted in that area of Route 66 but was told that would be up to PennDOT. Eugene Banks asked whether people doing public service could be involved in the cleanup but was told they would require close supervision and there might be liability issues.

Miklos also brought up the matter of the fence around the John B. Ford statue in Heritage Park. He said part of the fencing had been replaced and looked good, but the remainder needs to be replaced. He will look into the matter further.

Council also discussed the Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone as it might apply to the Ford City High School property. Miklos said a town hall-type meeting was needed to afford an opportunity for borough residents and representatives of Armstrong School District and Armstrong County officials to discuss the matter and offer suggestions. Lou Vegari, council president, said the property would not generate any local taxes for at least 10 years if the zone were applied to the school land. Councilman Paul Mohney said no taxes could be imposed for perhaps as many as 20 years.

“Most of us don't know anything about this,” Mantini said.

Miklos asked borough Solicitor Frank Wolf to research the matter.

In other council matters, Miklos asked council whether a plaque in memory of the late Larry Gray could be created and affixed to a pavilion in Boulder Park that Gray was instrumental in constructing. His motion was unanimously approved.

Mantini said Gray, a veteran with 30 years of military service, had been directly involved in constructing other such pavilions and built many of the picnic tables in the borough.

Miklos also asked council to approve the planting of a tree in memory of a former Ford City police officer and council member, the late John Rudosky. His request was approved unanimously. The request was submitted by Rudosky's widow, Kathy Rudosky.

Vegari reminded residents that the next boroughwide street sweeping would be on Thursday and vehicles should be removed from designated restricted parking areas. Vegari added that the next council meeting would be 6 p.m. Aug. 12 at the Ford City Public Library.

Tom Mitchell is a Leader Times correspondent.

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