clymer borough bldg sign

CLYMER — The borough council on Tuesday set the wheels in motion for upcoming water system and street sresurfacing projects, and updated area residents on the planning and, especially, the financing for other community improvement work planned in town.

“There is, I believe, a lot of misinformation going around town about this new park that’s happening,” Adams Street resident Grace Peace said. “How much will the taxpayers be responsible for?”

The question set the tone for what was as much an informational session as a business meeting for Clymer leaders.

Council first approved an ordinance that promises the borough’s guarantee of repayment of debt being taken on by Clymer Municipal Authority for a water system upgrade, and then agreed to borrow $500,000 for a town wide street improvement plan.

Council members Louis Tate, John Hughmanic, Brietta Mighells, Joe Krolick and Jeff Gromley voted yes on the ordinances. John Buterbaugh and Steph Brillhart were absent.

Engineer John Emerson of Gibson-Thomas Engineers said the authority next will meet with the owners of property adjacent to the borough’s existing water tank to reach a right-of-way agreement for construction of the new tank before taking out the old one.

The project plans also call for connection with Indiana County Municipal Services Authority water system to assure a backup supply during the Clymer project.

Emerson said the authority is due to close on its loan from Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PennVest) and order the start of construction in October.

Some of the work will be done over winter and most next year: the replacement of main pipelines, service connections to homes and the installation of the new tank.

Waterline work requiring street excavation will be planned in tandem with the borough’s comprehensive resurfacing program, a project that Clymer undertakes every 10 years rather than picking and choosing various streets to resurface each year.

Borough Manager Rob Barto said the borough would use its annual share of state liquid fuels tax funds to repay the loan. First National Bank of Pennsylvania offered the loan at 3.17 percent fixed interest with annual installments of about $59,000 for 10 years beginning next summer.

The park project that interested Peace is slightly more distant than the water and street work.

First, Gromley said, calling it a park might be a misnomer.

“There’s not a word for it — it’s not an actual park. It’s a memorial,” Gromley said.

“It will be an improvement of the vacant property over there now,” Barto said. The ground along Sherman Street has been rendered useless for structures by frequent flooding of Two Lick Creek.

“It will include a new street, sidewalks, street lighting, and a memorial to more than veterans but all our services.”

The project will provide plenty of parking, on-street and off-street, bleachers overlooking the ball field and possibly a new scoreboard.

“The park portion will be just grass, where we now have some dirt and concrete,” Barto said. “You’ll have a sidewalk from Sixth Street all the way by the ball field and up along Seventh Street. In the veterans’ memorial area, there will be a stage put in, a replica of the stage at the old Clymer High School, which was a grassy area with cut stones.”

The cost to borough residents, Barto said, will range from $30,000 to $34,000 — 15 percent of the total cost; the rest to be paid by a state grant of $280,000.

Adding the road work and drainage, Barto said, the total project is “just over a million dollars. But the borough contribution from the tax rolls will be about $35,000. That’s not a bad deal.”

“I heard $650,000,” Peace said. “I just don’t know what to do about the misinformation I’m hearing.”

Don’t pay attention to social media, council members suggested.

“I’ve heard what you’re talking about, and all it is, as far as I’m concerned, is a bunch of lies,” Hughmanic said. “If you want to get the truth, come here … and they’ll tell you what’s going on.”

Staff writer/Web Editor, The Indiana (Pa.) Gazette

Staff Writer/Web Editor

Chauncey Ross represents the Gazette at the Indiana Area and Homer-Center school boards and White Township, Center Township, Homer City and Burrell Township, and is something of an Open Records, Right to Know and Sunshine Law advocate in the newsroom.