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Jeannette's new housing project enters final phase

| Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, 9:01 p.m.
A nest of overhead wires and construction vehicles blanket the 400 block of South Sixth Street as the project heads toward closure.
Margie Stanislaw | For Trib Total Media
A nest of overhead wires and construction vehicles blanket the 400 block of South Sixth Street as the project heads toward closure.
This is one of the last three houses to be built on South Sixth Street. This house, in the 400 block, is much larger than the houses in the 300 block.
Margie Stanislaw | For Trib Total Media
This is one of the last three houses to be built on South Sixth Street. This house, in the 400 block, is much larger than the houses in the 300 block.
Trees line this area on South Sixth Street, which will be earmarked for green space for the neighborhood.
Margie Stanislaw | For Trib Total Media
Trees line this area on South Sixth Street, which will be earmarked for green space for the neighborhood.
New light polls like this, with electricity supplied through underline conduits, will line the 300 and 400 blocks of South Sixth Street soon.
Margie Stanislaw | For Trib Total Media
New light polls like this, with electricity supplied through underline conduits, will line the 300 and 400 blocks of South Sixth Street soon.

The South Sixth Street housing project is in the final stretch, according to community development coordinator Diana Reitz.

The project, which has been under way for about four years, is a collaborative project which brought different government agencies and nonprofits together to pool funding and resources.

For this project, Reitz worked with city, county and state funding and officials in addition to Westmoreland Community Action and Homes Build Hope, nonprofits in Westmoreland County.

Upcoming for the 300 and 400 blocks of South Sixth Street is an electrical conduit project and the installation of sewer connections, known as laterals.

“The alleyways will be trenched in order for the overhead wires to be moved underground. This will include electric, cable and phone. There will no longer be anything overhead, it will all be underground conduit,” said Reitz.

Already being built in those blocks of South Sixth Street are some new black metal street lights. The lights have a quaint look to them and are less urban looking than the older style street lamps.

The lights were supplied by West Penn Power.

“If you go through West Penn Power to get the lights and the poles, they maintain them. Financially, it is advantageous for the city to maintain (its) relationship with West Penn Power and let them install the new poles,” said Reitz.

Sewer laterals are going to be installed, which are connectors from the property to the mainline.

“After the conduit and lateral projects, (there) will be street paving and sidewalks and then the city will be done with (its) portion and the remainder of the work will be left to Westmoreland Community Action to finish building the homes. Funds for conduit and laterals are through the city's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

Jeannette receives CDBG funds because the city has chosen to opt out of the Westmoreland County Planning Council and is empowered by Act 179, which guarantees cities at least $300,000 per year in funds for community development.

Should Jeannette ever decide not to be part of the Act 179, all redevelopment tasks would be revert back to the county, which would result in less money given to the city annually.

Reitz stresses that the working relationship Jeannette has with Westmoreland County and Act 179 has made it possible for the city to work together on many large scale projects here, including the South Sixth Street project.

Reitz said there is one vacant lot on South Sixth Street that will be used as green space for the neighborhood. Trees already line that lot on one side of the perimeter in preparation for the green space.

Margie Stanislaw is a contributing writer.

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