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West Newton panel gets $1,000 for work in park

| Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

West Newton Council on Monday decided to help Downtown West Newton Inc. maintain the new Simeral Square by providing the nonprofit group with $1,000 of purchasing power to buy the necessary equipment.

Joanne Hall, a member of Downtown West Newton's Simeral Square committee, told council that the committee has the volunteers it needs to do the maintenance work at the park along North Water Street, but it needs the money to buy the equipment. The committee wants to use the money to purchase a lawn mower, trimmers, leaf blower, locks for electric boxes and posts with locks to prevent unauthorized vehicles from entering the park.

Hall said the committee is hoping to acquire the lawn-maintenance equipment soon as Simeral Square needs to be cut.

David Backstrom, a Simeral Square committee member, has the volunteers who have committed to do the maintenance at the park, Hall said. The volunteers would help prepare the park for events at the site, Hall said.

The money the borough spends on the equipment used by the committee will be spent in a West Newton business. All of the products would be purchased at Williams Ace Hardware, which has offered to give the committee the products at cost, said Councilman Chris Luikart, a Simeral Square committee member. Luikart said the committee will buy commercial-grade equipment that should last for seven to 10 years.

The equipment could be bought at the hardware store on a purchase order from the borough, said Pam Humenik, borough secretary.

When Councilman Adam Paterline suggested that the borough maintain the lawn at Simeral Square, which would cost far less than the $1,000 it has committed to maintenance, Luikart said the park is privately owned property.

Council President George Molovich said the borough's maintenance crews may not have time to do the work when it is necessary.

“We've been down this road 20 times before,” Molovich said.

Hall requested the borough remove the trash from the park, but council did not discuss that issue.

In other matters, council discussed the possibility of promoting Sgt. Anthony Gillingham to lieutenant, but the borough must discuss the matter with the police department's union representative because the position is not listed in the contract, said Councilman Michael Ulish.

Paterline said he would formally request Teamsters Local 205 of White Oak, which represents the borough police, to amend the contract to create the position.

“His service warrants it,” Paterline said.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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