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Downtown improvement starting in Kittanning

| Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 1:16 a.m.

The transformation of downtown streets, sidewalks and more begins this week with the start of a more than $2 million project to improve Kittanning's business district.

The Downtown Kittanning Impact Project includes work on Market Street between Grant Avenue and McKean Street. It involves street resurfacing, new signs, the removal and relocation of overhead utilities, sidewalk replacement, the addition of pedestrian crossing areas and the installation of decorative historic-style street lights and mast-arm traffic signals. Cleveland pear trees will be planted along Market Street, and McKean Street will have two-way traffic when the project is complete.

The project is not expected to cause any road closures since work will be done on one side of the street at a time, said Kittanning police Chief Bruce Mathews. However, it will temporarily affect some parking on the north side of Market Street.

M and B Services of Clarion, with a bid of $1,207,710, was awarded the contract to do the work. The contract calls for the work to be done no later than mid-December.

“But a September or October timeline is what we're hoping for — it would be very nice to have it done by Light-Up Night,” said Walter Smail, Armstrong County Industrial Development Council project manager.

State Sen. Don White, R-Indiana, helped to secure the initial funding of close to $1 million from the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. Additional contributions have been made by: Rosebud Mining Co., $200,000; Kittanning Borough, which committed close to $382,000 in Community Development Block Grants; PennDOT, $300,000 for a traffic study; IDC, $30,431; Armstrong County, $28,500; Armstrong County Community Foundation, $3,670; and Downtown Kittanning Inc., $1,000.

Another $66,000 needs to be raised to complete the project.

“Any amount of a gift is appreciated, and all gifts are tax deductible,” said Mindy Knappenberger, executive director of the Armstrong County Community Foundation.

“It's a wonderful opportunity to improve the quality of life for everyone in Armstrong County.”

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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