indiana borough bldg sign

Indiana Borough Parking Coordinator Hank Kukula provided an update on his first six months on that job — as well as past, present and future perspectives for the Indiana Borough Parking Department — at Tuesday’s agenda prep meeting of Indiana Borough Council.

Figures weren’t available for September, but revenues surpassed expenses for the three months prior to his hiring and three of the five months that followed. For the year through August, parking revenues totaled $545,777, expenses $500,123.

In June and July, the department showed $11,814.68 more in expenses than revenues, though much of that was for needed renovations including the work on the Eighth Street Municipal Lot — and it came in summer months when fewer students are at nearby Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Kukula and his staff of five (down recently from six) handle a garage with approximately 500 spaces, lots and zones with approximately 220 spaces, and approximately 650 parking meters.

Those meters will require state-required calibration that’s due in July 2020.

Among those lots is the newly refurbished Eighth Street Municipal Lot, which has six additional spaces and an Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Level 2 Charger.

Planning/Zoning staffer Nicholas Zinny-Shea said the charger cost $11,359.27, well above an initial cost estimate of $10,387, but the borough is getting $10,000 back through the state’s Driving PA Forward Rebate Program.

The borough parking garage also needs an overhaul.

Among other things, “there are some ceiling issues,” Kukula said.

Kukula said some Eighth Street users shifted to the garage during a reconstruction that lasted from mid June through late July.

“The process went smoothly with some customers choosing to remain in the garage,” he said.

All that only brought the garage to around half of its capacity. Kukula said plans for 2020 include “promotion and advertising to address underutilization of (the) garage.”

In another presentation Tuesday, Zinny-Shea summed up summer activity in the borough:

• Smoke testing has been completed from North Seventh Street to Marsh Run, with 68 deficiencies found, 23 involving sanitary sewer laterals, 13 public property, 14 cleanout caps, eight downspouts and seven storm drains. Next will be similar testing from South Seventh Street to Marsh Run.

• Extension of the Hoodlebug Trail is nearing an expected November completion through the IUP campus to the borough lot at Eighth and Church streets. The borough planning/zoning staffer said the trail will be celebrated with a “talk and walk” event Oct. 30 from 5:30 to 7 p.m., starting in Room 225 of the Humanities and Social Sciences building at IUP.

• The Poplar Street storm sewer replacement is completed, with bidding soon to take place through the Indiana County Office of Planning and Development on the South Seventh Street storm sewer replacement from Grant Street to Marsh Run.

He also reported that the Inhabit Indiana program has one completed residential participant so far; the Code of Indiana project is into finalizing zone-specific regulations; a game plan is in place for local intergovernmental cooperation with the 2020 Census, and the borough is positioned for silver designation among communities seeking to help residents “go solar.”

The borough is involved in Solar United Neighbors, as well as the SolSmart national designation program, which at random has chosen Indiana as the winner in its “city challenge.” Zinny-Shea said SolSmart is offering to pay for a borough official to go to Austin, Texas, to be honored.

Also Tuesday, Mayor George E. Hood read a proclamation on behalf of Manager C. Michael Foote and the borough’s planning commission proclaiming October to be “Community Planning Month” in Indiana, in conjunction with a “National Community Planning Month” celebration.

And Foote reported that a public hearing is scheduled Tuesday at 2 p.m. in council chambers to discuss a three-year plan for federal Community Development Block Grant funding.

The next regular council meeting is one week later, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m.