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Kiski towns plan united front on development

| Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2001

Coming up
  • Who: Officials from Gilpin, Leechburg, Parks and Bethel.

  • What: Public meeting to take comments on a proposed comprehensive development plan for all four communities.

  • When: 7 p.m. Feb. 27.

  • Where: Gilpin Township Fire Hall, Firehall Road.
  • Four southwestern Armstrong County communities will join forces Feb. 27 at the Gilpin Township Fire Hall in an effort to formulate a comprehensive plan for development.

    Leechburg will join Gilpin, Parks and Bethel townships in examining the communities' mutual problems, concerns, strengths and potential.

    Sutter & Associates recently completed a study that broke down the demographics, geography and history of the communities.

    'Now we're down to the part where we need public input,' said Jane Stearman, secretary of Parks Township Planning Commission.

    She said community leaders are holding the Tuesday meeting so residents can make suggestions on how the area should develop.

    According to Gilpin Supervisor Dennis Wolfe, residents who attended will be separated into four groups. Efforts will be made to include residents of all four communities in each group, and each group will offer suggestions.

    Those suggestions will be posted on a wall, and residents may place stickers on ones that interest them.

    'We will center our study on those suggestions with the most stickers,' he said.

    Wolfe said the suggestions may encompass a variety of issues, including infrastructure, utilities, public safety, land-use ordinances and jobs.

    'Tax abatement is a topic that seems to be bouncing around a lot lately,' he said. 'The purpose of the meeting is to identify anything the people think we may need. We really don't know what they're going to want yet.'

    Suggestions in Parks

    Stearman said Parks has received several suggestions already.

    'Most of the people here in Parks Township are very happy with the township the way it is,' she said. 'They don't want a lot of development and what they do want, they want controlled. We're pretty much the same in what we want as the other townships.'

    She said suggestions also included environmental ordinances and job creation.

    The four communities decided to complete a comprehensive plan together because their community demographics and needs were similar and because more grant money is available for communities that cooperate and develop a plan together.

    Sixty percent of the $25,000 study was financed by a grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development, while the communities will foot the remaining 40 percent of the bill.

    Staff writer Michelle Start can be reached at

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