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Uniontown authority to submit CDBG request

| Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The Uniontown Redevelopment Authority plans to continue to allocate Community Development Block Grant funding for demolition of condemned houses and buildings throughout the city.

The authority plans to submit its CDBG funding request for the state Community Development Block Grant program this week.

Mark Yauger, the authority's executive director, told Mayor Ed Fike and Uniontown City Council members on Wednesday that CDBG money will be set aside for demolition and work on the ongoing Morgantown streetscape project.

“We plan to have the CDBG application compiled tomorrow, and then we will overnight it to Harrisburg,” he said.

Yauger said the city has more than $100,000 in CDBG funding set aside for demolition.

“We do have a lot of money set aside for demolition, and we really need it,” Yauger said. “The city is currently working with the code enforcement officer to get those buildings tore down.”

In addition, Yauger said, the city is continuing to work on the Morgantown streetscape program that began almost 10 years ago.

“In the spring, we're going to start to install a new sidewalk,” Yauger said. “The sidewalks are in such bad condition along Morgantown Street that they are actually collapsing.”

Other plans for Morgantown Street include constructing decorative lighting, crosswalks and benches, according to Yauger.

In addition to work on Morgantown Street, Fike said the city has spent more than $1 million in the past few years to upgrade the West End intersection.

“We did a lot of work on that intersection, and it looks great,” the mayor said. “The installation of the new traffic signals made a huge improvement. We also repaired the stamped concrete at the Gen. George C. Marshall site.”

In connection with the CDBG grant funding request, Fike said, the city was required to adopt a Uniontown excessive force policy for its police department.

“The city was mandated to adopt that policy because it is a grant requirement for the CDBG program,” Yauger said.

Police Chief Jason Cox said the city had adopted the policy, but it needed to be updated for grant funding purposes.

“Under the policy, police officers are restricted from using excessive force during peaceful protests,” city Solicitor J.W. Eddy said. “The police are not allowed to beat people with clubs or sic dogs on them during a peaceful protest.”

In other action, council:

• Approved compensation for longtime firefighter Mark Lovey, who retired, effective Sept. 1. He will receive $26,216.32 for unused sick time, vacation and personal days. The city will deduct $2,240 from that amount to pay his health insurance co-pay through the end of 2014 in one lump sum. Lovey will resume his health insurance pay in 2015 until he reaches 65.

• Appointed Denice Ferranti-Robinson to the city's Downtown Business District Authority board of directors.

Cindy Ekas is a contributing writer.

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