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Downtown West Newton details plan

| Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2003

WEST NEWTON - George Sam, vice president of Downtown West Newton Inc., presented to council Monday goals in the "Bridge to Tomorrow" campaign to make the borough more appealing to travelers, particularly those on the Youghiogheny River Trail.

Some of the problems that make the town less appealing, Sam said at council's meeting, are unsightly and deteriorated buildings and the lack of businesses and attractions. He proposed creating parklets, riverfront access points, a spur trail leading into town and cycle-friendly access from the bridge.

The century-old bridge, he said, could become "a focal point of town." Because it's part of a state road, the bridge also may be the basis for seeking a federal Transportation Enhancement Grant channeled through the state.

According to Sam, the project may cost more than $400,000. "We may also get historical funding," he said.

Downtown West Newton received $15,000 from the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau for a study by Gannett Fleming, an architectural and engineering firm in Pittsburgh. The next step is for representatives from Downtown West Newton and the Main Street project to meet with council, then with the public for input.

If the campaign proceeds, council will be obligated to provide 20 percent of the funding and agree to long-term maintenance of whatever is developed.

"If we don't get backing from the community and from the borough, we can't do it," Sam said.

July 4, 2008, is the target completion date.

In other business, council:

  • Passed an ordinance that mandates tap-ins to existing or future public water lines.

  • Passed an ordinance that authorizes the West Newton Volunteer Fire Company to bill third parties for expenses incurred for emergency services and equipment.

  • Considered enacting an ordinance in response to complaints about roaming cats.

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