Saltsburg council eyes funding for recreational improvements
Saltsburg Borough Council has been made aware of several funding sources that could be used for various improvements around the community.
The borough received word from the Indiana County Commissioners and the county Office of Planning and Development that solicitations are being accepted for short-, mid- and long-term projects related to housing, public water or other improvements.
According to Byron Stauffer, executive director of the Indiana County Office of Planning and Development, the county is anticipating some community development block grant funds to help with such projects, but there is also funding available through Act 89 for transportation projects, liquid fuels funding, as well as money through other state and federal sources.
The county annually puts out feelers for community needs projects as part of the Indiana County Comprehensive Plan. Stauffer said his office issues a request for proposed projects every year so municipalities can be informed of funding opportunities that become available.
Council Vice President Kathy Muir suggested the town playground as a possible project for Saltsburg. Council has long wanted to relocate the community playground from its current location near the West Penn Trail Canal Street trailhead. Council has also discussed making equipment upgrades at the playground.
Muir said the recently introduced Trail Town Program would be another funding source to look into for the playground improvements.
The Trail Town Program, administered through the nonprofit Progress Fund, has pinpointed Saltsburg as one of two local communities to designate as the next Trail Town because of its recreational opportunities and active area biking trails.
The program offers small loans to existing and proposed businesses to help give a boost to communities that bring in hiking, biking and boating enthusiasts. It would also work to make links to create an uninterrupted connection of area trails.
Muir said she attended a meeting a few weeks ago with Progress Fund representatives, and she said the scope of potential projects is wide for economic development opportunities.
Saltsburg was also deemed unique by the program representatives because of its downtown Shop ‘n' Save supermarket; a large grocery chain is something most other small towns don't have.
“They just see this as a nice, little quaint town that has so much potential, and they're willing to come in and help us,” she said. “And I think it's awesome that we're one of two communities to be looked at to be added as a Trail Town.”
Muir noted that Saltsburg has a good start with its restaurants and other businesses, but council should determine what other needs the town has so that funding can be pursued.
“We've talked about using the canal more, and we could come up with activities to list there, and we could get started through the Heritage Holiday Committee, the Lions Club, things like that, that we might be able to get some funding for,” she said.
The program would also survey the town to assess what improvements could be made to signs indicating recreational areas and other needs such as bike racks.
The Trail Town Program will hold a public meeting 6 p.m. April 29 at the borough building. Area businesses and community residents are invited to attend to learn how to get involved. Those looking to attend the meeting are asked to RSVP to William Prince at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 724-216-9160, ext. 318.
Another suggested use for funding is the purchase of picnic tables for use by the community and visitors using the river and trails for recreation.
Muir said having picnic tables by the River's Edge boardwalk would give canoers and kayakers a place to stop along the river to have lunch.
Council member Dave Zimmerman suggested looking into tables that were not made of wood or rubber, which could be more susceptible to damage and gwraffiti.
“If we're going to do something like this, stainless steel is the way to go,” he said.
Concrete was also proposed as a material, and Muir noted that Indiana County Technology Center's masonry department used to make and sell concrete pieces. She said she'd look into whether or not it makes picnic tables.
It was noted that the tables at Saltsburg's North Park pavilions are in disrepair.
“So we should take a look at how many we need and what type to get, because we should have them,” said council member Ed Ramsden.
Council member Jim Simpson wanted clarification on whether or not the North Park portion of the West Penn Trail has been reopened to the public.
It was affirmed that the trail is once again open for public use after it had been blocked off for several months in a land ownership dispute.
According to borough solicitor Wayne Kablack, a preliminary injunction issued March 13 required that the trail be reopened until the dispute is settled in court at a date yet to be determined.
Council also submitted an application for its county liquid fuels allocation not to exceed $7,381.81, which will be used to purchase road materials and to make improvements to Basin and Cathedral streets, which are in need of repair.
The board also agreed to purchase a CD with money from its liquid fuels account in the amount of $20,000 from S&T Bank, at a rate of .55 percent for two years.
Council agreed to purchase four pet waste disposal dispensers to be placed at points around the borough to encourage owners to clean up after their pets when walking them through town.
The stations and a case of waste disposal bags are not to exceed a cost of $700. The stations will likely be installed at the playground, Canal Park, North Park and possibly near the Salt Center and library location.
The annual spring clean-up has been scheduled for April 18 for High Street and points below, and April 25 for those above High Street. Construction materials, chemicals or hazardous materials, tires, paint, freon and televisions and computer equipment will not be picked up.
In other business, borough council:
• Rejected bids for stone and cold patch through thw Council of Governments from Hei-Way, LLC. and Hanson Aggregates. The borough receives better prices locally, it was noted;
• Received a $150 donation from S&T Bank to purchase and plant flowers for the borough planters;
• Announced that The Point Community Church is taking applications for a “need and deed” weekend outreach project. The deadline to submit applications is April 21, and more information can be obtained by calling 724-702-0084;
• Announced that the Lions Club's annual Easter egg hunt will take place 1 p.m. April 19 at North Park.
Gina DelFavero is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2915 or email@example.com.