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Downtown Kittanning improvement project gets $100,000 boost

| Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 12:51 a.m.

A downtown Kittanning project took a significant step this week toward reaching a fundraising goal for planned enhancements along Market Street.

The Armstrong County Community Foundation on Tuesday announced in a release that the Downtown Impact Project recently received a $100,000 donation from F&M Bank of Western Pennsylvania.

F&M President Richard Krauland said the bank wanted to be part of the solution because the beautification project is important for the community.

“While we have branches across Armstrong County, we're headquartered in Kittanning,” Krauland said. “Our clients visit downtown Kittanning, and this project, once complete, will provide an inviting atmosphere in town. The merchants in town should certainly benefit from these improvements.”

The project has received support through individual and corporate donations, including $5,000 from EDD Insurance Group; $10,000 from Joseph A. and David J. Cippel; and $10,000 from the Smart Foundation.

Walter Smail, Armstrong County Industrial Development Council project manager, said Rosebud Mining Co. gave $200,000 toward the project, bringing the total capital campaign amount to $332,000.

“We're getting there,” Smail said, noting that about $200,000 more in donations is needed to meet the fundraising goal.

“We still need the community to help bridge that gap,” he said.

Construction plans have been submitted by E.G.&G. Inc. to the state Department of Transportation for review and approval.

Smail said Phase 1 of the project is expected to go out to bid in March, with construction expected to begin later in the spring.

Project improvements include the removal and relocation of overhead utilities, sidewalk replacement, construction of safer pedestrian crossing areas, decorative, historical-style streetlights and mast-arm traffic signals, new trees, implementation of two-way traffic on McKean Street and street resurfacing, striping and signage.

“We're excited about the project,” said Mindy Knappenberger, executive director of the Armstrong County Community Foundation.

She said people are welcome to contact the foundation office for more information or to make a tax-deductable donation for the project at Armstrong County Community Foundation, 220 S. Jefferson St., Kittanning, PA 16201.

According to the release, E.G.&G cost estimates determined that the block between Grant Avenue and McKean Street could be completed within the required time frame and within budget.

It noted that preliminary plans are being developed for the next phase in the project, with construction possibly starting in 2015.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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