INDIANA: Funds to be used to improve pedestrian safety
December 11, 2013 10:50 AM
by CHAUNCEY ROSS

The county planning office and a grassroots community-improvement group have won state funds to make it easier for bicycle riders and walkers to get around in the Indiana area. Now they’re looking to the Indiana Area School District and other local government offices to help get the project moving.

LINC, the Livable Indiana Neighborhood Connections group, has asked the district to provide a portion of $440,000 of local funds required as a match for a grant of $2.23 million in a Multimodal Corridor Project grant awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to the Indiana County Office of Planning and Development.

At their meeting Monday, the school board handed the request over to the buildings, grounds and transportation committee for review.

School board President Thomas Harley said the grant would be used to improve bike and pedestrian intersections from the south end of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus, in the area of the Hoodlebug Trail and Robertshaw Building, to downtown Indiana, and to East Pike in White Township.

The committee will be responsible for bringing a recommendation for the full board to consider.

“The odd thing about this is that the state funds are already in place, and the local funds are needed,” Harley said. He said Indiana Borough, White Township, IUP and the county will also be asked to support the project.

Harley said the funds are unrelated to another Penn DOT proposal to construct a traffic circle at Philadelphia Street and East Pike.

Also at its meeting, the board:

• Approved two change orders for the recent Energy Services Company (ESCo) energy-efficiency improvement project.

The contractor set aside $200,000 for replacement of wet roof insulation but spent only $58,926 for the work. The difference will be refunded to the district. And a change order of $33,259.11 will leave a contingency fund for other excess expenses with a balance of $133,038, which will be returned to the district and applied to the capital projects fund.

• Ratified a natural gas transportation agreement between the district and Peoples Natural Gas Co., locking in a rate of $2.16 per thousand cubic feet of natural gas through the end of 2016.

Business Manager Jared Cronauer said some of the rates may be reduced later, in an amendment to the contract, after the bus company introduced buses that run on propane.

• Approved an agreement with Armstrong-Indiana Intermediate Unit 28 for participation in the regional wide network consortium for Internet and Ethernet services at $1,828.59 a month, eligible for e-Rate discount and for firewall service, network management and maintenance fees totaling $450 a month from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2019.

• Agreed to pay $21,870 from the construction fund for the replacement of aged stage curtains in the senior high school auditorium.

“The curtains were installed in the 1991 renovation project and have since lost their fire-retardant properties,” board member John Barbor said. “So they are not only an eyesore, but a danger.”

• Approved a contract for transportation services between the district and STA of Pennsylvania, also known as Krise Bus Service, from July 1 to June 30, 2019.

• Approved the purchase of snow guards for the sloped part of the roof of Ben Franklin Elementary school at a cost of $12,600.

• Accepted a request by high school Principal Wade McElheny to waive his $600 goal-achievement stipend and to donate the funds to the high school budget.

• Appointed Cronauer to represent the district on the Indiana County Tax Collection Committee and accountant Rebecca Pizer to serve as the alternate delegate, each for a one-year term.

• Appointed Deborah Clawson to serve as the PSBA liaison for the district.

• Named Harley, Diana Paccapaniccia and John Uccellini as the district’s representatives to the Indiana Area Parks and Recreation Commission board.

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