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Greensburg City Council resolves to seek grant applications for projects

| Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Greensburg City Council on Monday unanimously approved resolutions seeking grant applications to fund two projects.

The city will seek a Multimodal Transportation Fund grant for a proposed health care district for the Fifth and Sixth wards.

The written resolution seeks a $2 million grant application through the state Department of Community and Economic Development and PennDOT.

Consultant Urban Design Associates of Pittsburgh and others put together the plan with the intent to enhance the two wards and spark development.

The plan divides the area into districts with different goals for each. Excela Health's Westmoreland Hospital is approximately in the center of the districts.

The plan proposes several potential changes for West Otterman and West Pittsburgh streets, each currently restricted to one-way travel. It calls for a pedestrian-and-bike bridge connecting Seton Hill University with the city's Depot Street section.

Consolidated parking at the hospital, more green spaces and parks and home-rehabilitation programs were recommended.

Final project planning will depend upon the amount of any grant money, city administrator Susan Trout said.

Council will seek a $1 million flood mitigation grant through the state Department of Environmental Protection for concrete wall repairs and fencing for the Greater Greensburg Area Flood Protection Project.

The project includes a stretch along Route 119 in the municipalities of South Greensburg, Southwest Greensburg, Greensburg and Hempfield.

“The project needs rehabilitation. It was built in the 1950s,” Trout said.

The goal is to keep it “functional until replacement,” she said.

A state project to revamp the flood channel has been delayed by a lack of funds.

Council agreed to authorize Trout and solicitor Bernard McArdle to sign off on easements for the Northmont Flood Control Project.

The project will limit flooding for at least 15 homes on Northmont, Kenneth, Kenmore and Beaver streets, city officials said.

The project was discussed in the 1980s, then shelved because of other flood-control work in the city and a decline in flooding in the Northmont area, state DEP officials said.

Heavy rain in August 2007 renewed interest in the work. When the rains ended, residents began complaining to council about flooded basements and sewage backup.

The state has set aside $3.7 million for design, construction and inspection, and the city has budgeted $400,000 to obtain rights of way and for demolition work, tree removal and possible utility relocation.

A recent public meeting reviewed the 48 easements, both permanent and temporary, required of 23 property owners.

City officials are requesting those property owners sign consent documents.

McArdle explained the city will have to turn to eminent domain practices to take property that owners don't willingly surrender.

Not all attending the meeting seemed convinced.

“My intention is to try and successfully negotiate easements” by September, Trout said.

“There are some good concerns we have to address. ... We are hoping neighbors will want to help their neighbors,” she said.

The hope is work can start next spring and be completed within 18 months, she said.

Council members agreed to withdraw from Westmoreland County's Community Development Block Grant program and apply for state funding using “in-house expertise,” Trout said.

Goals include pursuing a greater allocation and having more control over projects, she said.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

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