This past construction season, Borough Council continued to work on the following capital projects relating to the Borough’s transportation and recreational infrastructure.
The economic shock waves of 2008 which impacted the real estate market are still being felt in many communities in Allegheny County and across the nation. Castle Shannon was not immune from feeling the effects of devaluations in resident property value.
In 2012 we successfully secured a grant through the South Hills Area Council of Governments (SHACOG) to demolish and clear the property of 951 Arch St. We have submitted two additional grants in an attempt to secure funding to address properties at 1263 Hamilton Ave. and 923 Ulrich St. Each of these demolitions can exceed $10,000 so we work closely with the property owners to first attempt to address general property upkeep conditions. Only when this proves to no avail do we move the property forward to attempt to address the conditions through the legal process.
CSRC Golf Outing
The CSRC held its second annual golf outing at the River View Golf Club on September 14. Over 100 golfers participated in this event, which is intended to strengthen fellowship and camaraderie which are necessary ingredients to a successful partnership between the CSRC and the private sector. We would like to thank all of the businesses and vendors that supported this event. We hope the success of the golf outing will flow into our other activities.
Veterans Day Ceremonies
Please make plans to attend our annual ceremony to honor the men and women of Castle Shannon that are serving or who have served in all branches of the United States Military. Ceremonies will be held on Monday, November 12 at Memorial Parklet behind the Ice Castle Arena at 11 a.m. This ceremony has grown from its inception and will feature all military banners on prominent display.
Lighting, Thermostatic and water utility upgrades at the Municipal Center
Last year the Borough was fortunate to receive a $30,000 grant through Allegheny County to undertake the complete installation of energy efficient light fixtures and programmable thermostatic controls at the Municipal Center. This grant will reduce our energy usage thereby saving the borough over $5,000 per year on energy costs. This year we will continue our quest to upgrade our municipal facilities with possible improvements at the Public Works Department Facilities and other areas of Borough operations.
2012 Road Improvement Program (RIP)
The successful bidder on the Borough’s annual road improvement program for 2012 was Protech Asphalt. The following segments were repaired: Grove Rd. from Saxonwald Lane to House Number 1401; Myrtle Ave. from Chestnut St. to Pine Ave.; Myrtle Ave. from Castle Shannon Blvd. to house 3747; Sleepy Hollow Rd.; Middleboro from Orr Dr. to Blossom Hill Rd. and a section of Willow Ave. in front of the tunnel. The total bid was $207,950.
It is worthwhile to again not that Castle Shannon has, due to previous proactive maintenance operations on road sub-base conditions, annually reduced our final cost.
In 2013 Council will be operating off of an updated 10 year schedule however previously identified investment levels will be maintained to ensure the Borough’s 26 miles roads will be preserved.
Council continues to take early action on bid proposals which in turn tends to deliver better prices from vendors.
Administrative Consent Order (ACO) Work Continues
As we have indicated in previous editions of the Borough’s newsletter, the ACO is one of the biggest if not the biggest challenges that Castle Shannon and over 80 other communities in Allegheny County face for at least the next ten 10 years.
One of the major work items in the Administrative Consent Order signed by Castle Shannon, ALCOSAN and its customer municipalities, is the mandate to correct structural system deficiencies in our sanitary system.
We have spent over $4.1 million to date evaluating and correcting structural system deficiencies within our sanitary sewer system.
Castle Shannon continues to make yearly progress on structural deficiencies existing in our watersheds. We have engaged our engineers to begin the establishment of an overall structural segment listing prioritizing repairs based on their severity level. This systematic schedule for corrections will require annual allocations of approximately $200 to $300,000.
We continue to strive to keep our compliance costs as low as possible. Nearly 100% of all CCTV activities are done in house. We also continually look for opportunities in early project scheduling, joint bidding and other areas where municipal cooperation will minimize repair work costs.
Due to the nature and the magnitude of this activity, it is my intention to provide annual updates, in the Newsletter, on the progress we are making in our ACO work components.
In 2012 a series of municipal improvement and maintenance projects were undertaken to address community infrastructure and public facilities within Castle Shannon.
Borough Council strives to maintain a “hands on” approach with these issues to ensure public input and involvement.
The Borough’s Annual Road Improvement Program along with annual sanitary and storm sewer line upgrades with all function in an inter-related process that improves the efficient provision of municipal services and address communities environment, health and safety.
Borough Council views the challenges posed by the continued maintenance and upgrades of our transportation and recreational assets as potential opportunities and is committed to their successful resolution.
In closing, on behalf of Mayor Baumgarten and all members of Borough Council, we wish all residents a safe and joyous holiday season.
Thomas C. Hartswick