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Ligonier council approves design changes to Diamond

| Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, 11:12 p.m.

Rounded corners of the inner island of the Ligonier Diamond would be shaved in a design suggested to make the road wider and reduce damage from cars and trucks.

After viewing a couple drawings from engineer Greg Elliott of the EADS Group, borough council this week voted 5-2 to approve the design that is intended to deter semi-tractor trailer drivers and others from driving over the curb.

The 3 feet that would be taken off would taper toward the sides of the island.

Elliott said the change won't eliminate damage to the Diamond, but it will help curb the problem.

“I think that this would be an improvement,” he said.

Councilwoman Judy Hoffer voted against the design that is part of a project to renovate the Diamond area.

“We're putting all this money into fixing the Diamond, but we're not taking care of the problem,” she said. “And I don't know what the answer to the problem is.”

She said the town has a beautiful Diamond and a concept of what council wants to do to renovate it, but she would hate to see the money spent if it's not going to improve the overall condition.

Councilman Jim McDonnell also voted against the design.

“I can't see changing history for a couple of feet difference, that's all,” he said. “The Diamond is what it is because of what it's always been, much like what Ligonier has been. I don't know if it's going to make any difference.”

A committee has been working on the project's design for several months. A concept was approved by council in August and includes a 10-inch-high curb around the inner Diamond.

The project could cost more than $1 million, Elliott said. Council is seeking grant funding.

Elliott said the committee has several “wish list” items in mind for the project, such as heated sidewalks on the island, new lighting and security cameras.

President Robert “Buddy” Helterbran said once the project is “priced out,” council will decide what can be cut from the design plans.

“We're not going to be borrowing any money or raising taxes to do this,” he said. “It will hopefully ... by the grace of God, be that there will be some people out there that want to help fund this project.”

Helterbran said he's already been contacted by people who expressed their willingness “to help out as much as they possibly can.”

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or nchynoweth@tribweb.com.

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