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Blairsville Council clears way for communications site

| Saturday, June 8, 2013, 8:06 a.m.

Blairsville Council on Monday approved a special zoning exception that will allow a Freeport company to erect a pre-fabricated communications shelter at the intersection of North Walnut Street and Conner Alley.

At a special meeting, Salsgiver, Inc. CEO Loren Salsgiver told council the 360-square-foot shelter will house equipment needed for his company to support the new, upgraded Indiana County 911 emergency communications network. He said the site also can assist with job creation and retention, as it will allow his company to offer broadband phone, video and data services to local businesses.

He said the shelter would be connected to an aerial fiber optic line located “around the corner” from the site.

Approval of the communications facility had been recommended by the borough planning commission. But council initially rejected Salsgiver's proposal last month, asking it to resubmit a plan that would address concerns about screening the shelter from view along Walnut Street (Route 217).

“We want to be sure that it doesn't become an eyesore,” council member Carrie Smith said of the site, which is located next to the Highridge Water Authority office.

“We agreed to put shrubbery along Route 217,” Salsgiver said, noting the landscaping also “would stop ingress and egress over the curb.” He said the existing gravel would be retained for the remainder of the lot's surface, with an entrance from Conner.

According to another company official, Lisa Salsgiver, the communications firm plans to proceed as quickly as possible with installing the shelter, which will be transported from Kentucky. The concrete shelter has a stone aggregate facade. Security lighting will be located near the entrance.

According to Loren Salsgiver, the company plans to have additional such sites operating in Indiana, Saltsburg and Cherry Tree.

Borough manager Tim Evans noted the Blairsville site is located in a transition zone, where public utilities are permitted as a special exception.

Jeff Himler is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2910 or jhimler@tribweb.com.

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