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Another step taken on path to Armstrong Trail improvement

| Tuesday, March 6, 2012

KITTANNING — The borough is a step closer to resolving drainage issues along a section of the Armstrong Trail after council decided Monday to apply for a state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant.

Jennifer Bellas, of the county's planning department, said DCNR funding was limited, but unfinished sections of trail top their priority list.

Bellas recommended council focus on the unfinished sections north of Chestnut Street and along Indiana Avenue.

The Allegheny Valley Land Trust would give a $5,000 match in funds for each section, Bellas said.

Ron Steffey, executive director of AVLT, said that not only was it an AVLT recommendation to focus on the unfinished sections of trail but it is a focus of DCNR because those sections are part of the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail.

"We'll do whatever we can to make a match to make improvements," Steffey said.

According to Dave Rupert, district manager of the Armstrong Conservation District and a member of the Allegheny Valley Land Trust, the borough streets of Sirwell, Orchard and Martin would be eligible to receive funding through the Dirt and Gravel Road Program.

Since the borough has never received funding through the program, it would be at the top of the priority list, Rupert said.

According to Bellas, there is also the potential to use Dirt and Gravel funding with DCNR grants to complete an entire project.

Rupert agreed and said it could be used as a match to complete the unfinished section of trail through DCNR, resolving the drainage issues along Chestnut Street.

Garbage concerns:

The positive tone of the meeting shifted as former councilman Tom Close opened up a discussion about garbage issues, showing photos of garbage bags piled on top of trash cans.

"Why should I have to pay the same price as the guy with 20 bags, when I have only two bags?" Close said. "Who is in charge to enforce it?"

Councilwoman Kim Fox pointed out that a rental owned by Close had 25 bags of garbage sitting outside in violation of the garbage ordinance.

"I don't intend for that to happen again," Close said.

Borough police Chief Ed Cassesse said that a lot of people who rent and are new in town may not be aware of the ordinances.

Every household is permitted a maximum of three garbage cans, with lids, which must be marked with the name and house number. Additional bags that do not fit in the cans must have a special $2.50 sticker.

"Personally, I think we should revamp the whole system," Fox said. "We have the highest millage and garbage fees around. People have to be able to put their garbage out when they're paying what they're paying."

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