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Community planning: More of it needed

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

During a recent public session in Connellsville involving the use of Community Development Block Grants, about 30 citizens applauded when they were able to convince their council to use some of the money for demolition of buildings and less toward a new fire truck.

The issue is of no importance here in Armstrong County — except to serve notice that people do get involved in their governing.

Kittanning Council, in cooperation with the Armstrong County Planning Office, is planning to devote CDBG funds toward changing traffic patterns and dressing up lighting and other planned improvements in the business district.

But where is the public enthusiasm, the leadership — the effort to encourage citizen involvement?

Sure, public meetings have been conducted per the direction of the law that governs use of such funds. But we would think that there would be a committee of area business folks willing to meet regularly, to offer ideas and to address the potential for revitalization.

What is the endgame? Has anyone heard from any businesses excited about the project or, better yet, a new business willing to set up shop in a revitalized business district? For the record, Rosebud Mining, which occupies most of the easternmost block of Market Street, has contributed.

So more public money will be spent, and with what objective? Nobody in leadership is really saying much.

And on Monday before council, the point was made that some $400,000 in donations are still necessary to complete these plans.

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