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Contract awarded for airpark access road at Jimmy Stewart Airport

| Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

The Indiana County Commissioners have paved the way for an access road to be built for a proposed airpark at the Jimmy Stewart Airport.

The airpark, which is part of renovations under way at the airport, would offer a place for businesses to build their own hangars at the facility.

Ligonier Construction Company received the contract to install the road at a price of $994,000, the lowest of six bids submitted for the work. The cost of the project is to be fully covered by the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, according to Indiana County Airport Authority Chairman Ron Anderson.

“This particular project is a significant part of the necessary business upgrades of the airport,” Commissioners Chairman Rod Ruddock said.

Construction is slated to begin in the fall.

At their Aug. 28 meeting, the commissioners also moved forward with a housing project for homeless veterans, a facility that will feature five one-bedroom units and one two-bedroom unit along Clinton Street in White Township.

The commissioners agreed to enter into a $55,000 contract with Upstreet Architects of Indiana to design the project and offer services during the bidding and construction phase. Indiana County's HOME program, one of the funding sources for the construction project, will cover the expense. The housing units are slated for completion next year, according to LuAnn Zak, deputy director of community development and housing in the county's Office of Planning and Development.

A change order in the amount of $58,398.08 was approved by the commissioners to cover an adjustment to the contract price with M and B Services, LLC, the company working on downtown Indiana's economic development project.

The change order was necessitated by required traffic signal adjustments at the intersection of Philadelphia and Seventh streets.

The additional cost, which will be covered by Indiana Borough's project contingency funds, brings the contract total with M and B Services to $936,328.04.

The commissioners allocated $196,000 in 2013 Community Development Block Grant entitlement funds to help make improvements to the Arcadia water treatment plant, in cooperation with Montgomery Township and the Indiana County Municipal Authority. The county also will apply for $375,000 in competitive block grant funds on behalf of Montgomery Township for the project. The work will be undertaken by the municipal authority, the owner and operator of Arcadia's water system.

The commissioners approved a three-year plan for the county's 2013 non-entitlement Community Development Block Grant application, which prioritizes county-wide needs and which will include the improvements to the Arcadia water treatment plant as well as county-wide lateral assistance projects. The county's 2013 allocation is $256,834.

In the portion of the meeting set aside for comments from the community, Larry Spahr discussed his complaints about a property next to his Banks Township home.

Spahr said he's been in contact with the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) concerning the adjacent mobile home. Federal HOME funds issued through the DCED and the Indiana County Redevelopment Authority were put to use to replace the mobile home for the family living there.

Spahr said he's been filing complaints for the past five years over what he feels are dilapidated conditions surrounding the house, including beer cans, trash, broken glass, burnt mattresses and unkempt grass.

Spahr said he has sent photos of the property to the DCED and the county as part of his complaint and said that he's spoken with Commissioner David Frick about the problem. Spahr called for Frick to resign his commissioner post because he failed to return his phone call and because he described the photos Spahr sent as “vague.”

“The photos are not vague,” Spahr said.

Ruddock told Spahr he was aware of his contact with the DCED, noting that the commissioners received a statement from the department that said the county has done everything that it's required to do under the law, “And that any issues that are there must be taken up by the municipality, because it's their responsibility to oversee the issues that you have raised,” Ruddock told Spahr. “That's what I recall from that particular note, and I would certainly lean on our solicitor for advisement and we will certainly look into that.”

Spahr claims the condition of the adjacent property has cut the value of his own property in half.

“We know what the issues are,” Ruddock said. “We feel the county is protected...and DCED also has the same impression we have, but nonetheless, because you have sought out a different organization and perhaps legal support, we would feel more comfortable working this through our solicitor.”

After the meeting, Zak noted that the redevelopment authority acts as a bank to the owners of the property in terms of giving the homeowners a loan, but does not make tax or insurance payments on their behalf.

“We do not pay people's taxes and insurance,” Zak emphasized. “We act like a bank...and we escrow just like people escrow to their banks.”

In other business, the commissioners:

• Accepted a $27,500 bid from Marc Services of Windber for replacement of the rooftop HVAC unit at the Children and Youth Services building at 350 N. Fourth St., Indiana. The current unit was installed in 1976. Four bids were received, and the winning bid total is eligible for 80 percent reimbursement by the state, bringing the total payable by the county to $5,500, covered under capital improvement funds.

• Proclaimed Sept. 9-15 Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Week, with the observation that the use of alcohol during pregnancy is the leading preventable cause of birth defects, intellectual and developmental disabilities, with as many as one in every 100 births affected by the disorder. The month of September was also proclaimed as Recovery Month, emphasizing treatment for mental and substance use disorders.

• Entered into a contract for volunteer services with Evergreen Conservancy, to be added to the county's list of volunteer opportunities through the human services department.

• Approved a memorandum of understanding between the Indiana County Emergency Management Agency and PA 211 Southwest, the human services helpline now available. This is a formality that allows lines of communication to open between 911 and 211.

• OK'd an agreement between Kaleidoscope Family Solutions and county Children and Youth Services for home and community habilitation support in the amount of $5,998, requiring a $599 match from the county.

• Entered into a guardian ad litem contract with Mark Bolkovac and a solicitor agreement with Jennifer Szalkowski on behalf of Children and Youth Services.

• Made the following Citizen's Advisory Board appointments: Robert Jones, New Florence; Debra Faloon, Indiana; Karen King, Indiana; Kathy Armstrong, Indiana; Dawn Frederick, Indiana; Larry D. Davis Jr., Northern Cambria; Helen Mack, Indiana; Lesley Simmons, New Florence; Connie Hill, Indiana; Stephen Lowman, Homer City; Michele Greenawalt, Indiana; Pamela Voytek, Indiana; Judy Woods, Clymer; Tammy Shetler, Robinson; and Sarah Ross, Indiana. These are all reappointments that will expire August 2014.

The county commissioners will next meet 10:30 a.m. Sept. 11.

Gina DelFavero is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2915 or

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