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BLAIRSVILLE: Council puts support behind two projects

by on July 17, 2013 10:50 AM

BLAIRSVILLE — Blairsville Borough council intends to seek up to $680,000 in state grants to support two community projects

During a meeting Tuesday, council adopted resolutions supporting the applications, one of which is for $180,000 through the Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program. The program, administered by the Commonwealth Financing Authority, is supported by the state’s gas well impact fee.

Borough manager Tim Evans said the money would be put toward a new roof on the Blairsville Armory, which houses a part of the recreation center.

“The armory leaks like a sieve,” said Evans.

In addition, the borough will be applying for up to $500,000 to fund a low-interest loan program intended for business owners.

Council is seeking that money with the opening of a new downtown supermarket in mind.

Returning a supermarket to the downtown has been a priority for the borough following the closure of the Market Street BiLo in 2010. The market had been owned by Penn Traffic Co., but was sold — along with all of its other assets — after it went bankrupt. The company that bought those assets then closed the store.

Evans said there has been some movement toward reopening a grocery store at the site, but declined to offer any details.

In other matters, council adopted a revised parking ordinance on a 5-1 vote.

The ordinance increases parking fines from $2 to $5; institutes $25-per-month permit parking for 15 spaces at the borough building; meters an additional 15 spaces at the borough building; prohibits parking in front of the post office, from Market Street to Iron Alley; and prohibits cross-traffic turns onto South Walnut Street from Iron Alley.

Also last night, council agreed to take out a five-year, $35,000 loan from S&T Bank. The loan is to be used to purchase playground equipment, new exercise equipment for the community center, and to pay for improvements to the borough tennis court.

The interest rate on the loan is 2.45 percent.

In other business, Evans told council that tax receipts have been slow to come in this year. In fact, he said tax collections are lagging by about $258,000 over the same time last year.

Evans said the transition in the tax collector’s office is partly to blame.

In January, longtime tax collector Joan Baker resigned, and Carol Tarasovich was appointed to succeed her one month later.

Evans said that despite the lag, the borough is on solid financial footing.

Sam Kusic is a staff writer for The Indiana Gazette.
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