Several upcoming grant opportunities could provide White Township with funding for various projects, including a sidewalk and bike path along Saltsburg Avenue and an amphitheater at the recreation center.
The board of supervisors on Wednesday directed officials to pursue grants and discussed the recent awarding of a Green Light-Go grant that will provide $188,000.
That project will focus on the second phase of improvements to traffic signals at the intersection of Ben Franklin Road South, Warren Road and Indian Springs Road.
“The original upgrade included replacement of two of the traffic-signal support poles with mast arm style posts and the introduction of an exclusive signal for northbound traffic on Indian Springs Road to turn left onto Warren Road,” according to township information. “The next phase will feature the addition of marked crosswalks, pedestrian signals, push button controls and ADA-compliant curb ramps.”
Those pedestrian upgrades are required of the township by PennDOT, said chairman George Lenz, even though the area is where two state highways intersect.
All signals will be wired underground.
Township Manager Milt Lady discussed other upcoming grant opportunities.
The Commonwealth Financing Authority Multimodal grant could be used as additional funding for a project to extend Acorn Street, he said.
A Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission/Penn-DOT Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside grant could help fund a sidewalk and bike path along Saltsburg Avenue that would link to the township’s Getty Heights Park, providing a connection from Rose Street to Oakland Avenue near the Rustic Lodge.
And an American Rescue Plan grant for arts could bring an amphitheater to the recreation center on East Pike.
Lady said there has been “renewed interest” in an amphitheater at the recreation center, which was part of the original design in 1995 but “went into mothballs.”
If the project were to materialize, the amphitheater “would be in a beautiful setting,” Lady said, and could provide an area to be used as an outdoor performance space.
Events threatened by inclement weather could also easily be moved inside to the arena.
Lady said with that grant, there may be a need to partner with a local arts organization, as he was unsure of the eligibility of a government organization to apply.
He acknowledged a tight deadline on some of the applications, as the arts grant would be due next Thursday.
“There’s some legwork there,” Lady said.
The CFA grant is due by July 31 and the SRC grant follows in September.
In other business, supervisors:
• Were provided the draft copy of a potential agreement that would govern the township’s offer to match contributions to Citizens’ Ambulance Service from other boroughs and townships in Indiana County and the Citizens’ service area up to a total of $50,000. Supervisors voted unanimously to table action on the agreement pending review and expect to discuss it at the next meeting, set for 7:30 p.m. July 28 at the township office.
• Discussed the topic of deer management, including a suggestion by supervisor Sandi Gillette, who sought to opening a comment period to the public.
Lady said putting the plan out should be the first step, so those who wish to comment on the plan know the details.
He expects a draft plan to be available by the end of August.
• Heard concerns from supervisor Rich Gallo, who said recent letters to the editor in The Indiana Gazette against the township trouble him.
He suggested that letter-writers instead address supervisors directly with concerns.
“We’re trying to do the right thing,” Gallo said. “Come to us. That’s what we’re here for.”
David Dahlheimer, of Friends of White’s Woods, the citizen group challenging White Township plans for the nearly 250-acre White’s Woods Nature Center, told supervisors that “all we’ve ever asked for is the opportunity to comment during development” of plans.
Sierra Davis, speaking virtually during the public comment portion, addressed Gallo’s comments, saying it “isn’t good to discourage public comment.”
“The community has every right to write a letter to the editor,” she said.
Gallo responded that he has no problem with freedom of speech, but rather he wanted to encourage those with concerns and questions to address township officials personally through phone calls, emails or by attending meetings instead of through the letters.
• Heard from Lady that effective Aug. 29, a new aspect of the Sunshine Law will require municipalities to post an agenda on the website at least 24 hours prior to a meeting.