Export officials hope to begin McKinley Avenue wall repairs by mid-April | TribLIVE.com
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Patrick Varine

The prospect of losing federal grant money is the latest reason Export officials hope to quickly fix a retaining wall along the north edge of McKinley Avenue.

The main reason is that the wall is visibly failing and is located close to multiple homes as well as the borough building.

“This is a dire emergency,” said Councilman John Nagoda. “That wall is going to come down.”

Council this week voted to advertise for bids, with plans to open those bids at its April 2 meeting. Council President Barry Delissio hopes to have construction started by mid-April and wrapped up by July 1.

A walk up McKinley Avenue quickly reveals buckled pavement and a visible bend in the curbing along the wall, and snow fencing has been erected in areas where the chain-link fence has bent or broken.

Nagoda said engineering work for the project, being done by Antonacci Design Associates in Jeannette, is nearly complete. However, borough secretary Tonia Writt said contractors for the project want to push the timeline back a month.

“We can’t push it back,” Mayor Joe Zaccagnini said.

Not only are borough officials looking to fix the wall as soon as possible, “but there’s concern that if we keep waiting, we’re going to lose our (Community Development Block Grant) funding,” Writt said.

Nagoda said the borough has run out of time to wait.

“This money’s on the table,” he said. “If we play around, it could go away, so there’s no time for playing around.”

CDBG money is available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is administered through the county. The resources can be used to tackle a number of community development needs.

In 2018, Export was not able to secure Community Development Block Grant funding to address road issues because some residents refused to fill out income surveys, which are required as part of the CDBG package the borough submits annually.

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